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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 October 2018) . . Page.. 4196 ..


strength. They found motives to participate can change and evolve over time. For example, a woman may begin physical activity for health reasons however find enjoyment in the social aspect or mental wellbeing and continue for those reasons.

The report also identified barriers to women participating in sport, and I will touch on a few because they inform the policy discussion very well. Many of them are intuitive but, as always, it is good to see these things backed up by research and reports. The list includes lack of time due to family commitments, including feeling guilty for spending time away from their young children or being required to take young children to appointments including, paradoxically, sporting events.

Teenagers and adolescents are influenced greatly by body image and experience greater dropout due to social and peer pressure on appearance. Cost and the inflexibility of payment structures and time structures are also issues. The report notes that this might explain why women prefer informal rather than organised or structured sports.

It reports women being intimidated by masculine environments of sporting teams and gyms, et cetera; the fear of injury; and the lack of confidence, knowledge and belief in their own ability. That is the idea that some sports academics talk about of physical literacy: simply not knowing how to be involved in sport because of lack of opportunity. The report also mentioned, as has been touched on in today’s debate, the lack of facilities, particularly change rooms for women. This report is a very helpful academic guide to some of the issues that have been canvassed in today’s debate and they give us a pointer on the things that we need to do to continue to promote women’s participation in sport.

I note the various measures laid out by Ms Cody in the motion about some of the things that are happening in the ACT. It would be interesting to see some data of women’s participation rates in the ACT compared to other places. I suspect, like with many of these other indicators, that the ACT is probably ahead, but the general trends we see in that Victorian survey are undoubtedly reflected in the ACT in terms of the differentiation between men and women.

Certainly in the various sporting activities I am involved in we are seeing greater numbers of women. I participated in a running event on the weekend in which there were more females on the field than males, and I was pretty delighted to hear that. I suspect it was because I was in the shorter event. There was a longer event afterwards and I suspect the reverse was the case in that event. Nonetheless, I was very happy to see that. Quite a few women I knew were at the event and I was pleased to see them out there just getting in and having a go.

More and more events are being created to provide other opportunities in the fields in which I participate, of triathlon and running, where traditionally there were just long events. Newer, shorter events are being introduced which are good entry points for people to participate. That is across the genders and the age groups, but I have noticed a lot more females are coming to those events. It is great to see event organisers thinking about how to encourage people to participate and then once people realise


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