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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1323 ..

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, I want to acknowledge the Canberra women's jogalong. I was very happy to attend the twenty-first birthday celebrations of this event on Sunday. It is a wonderful event. I do not know whether the Minister for sport, Mr Stefaniak, has visited it, but I would encourage him to do so.

The women's jogalong, quite obviously, has now been in existence for 21 years. The event last Sunday attracted 400 women and girls. It is quite easily the most significant women-only mass participation sporting event in Canberra, and possibly in Australia. It is a very significant event. It is currently organised by a dedicated group of runners and supporters headed by Annette Sugden and others. I commend the effort and dedication which people put into organising events such as this. The event, in the last 12 months, has attracted 1,700 different women. So, over the space of that last year, 1,700 women, most of whom I am sure do not participate very fully in mainstream athletics or sport, were attracted to this six-kilometre run which is conducted in Stromlo Forest.

I think the women's jogalong is a great model for sporting organisations and sports administrators of the sorts of issues which sports administrators should take into account in order to attract women into sport and into physical activity. As I am sure all members are aware, one of the remaining areas of significant and patent discrimination in our community and society is in relation to opportunities for women to participate freely and equally in sport. Every indicator tells us that that is the case. I think it is sad that even in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, something that I think most of us are quite proud of, there will be more events for men than for women. There will be many more male athletes at the Sydney Olympics than women athletes. There will be many more male officials, coaches and trainers at the Sydney Olympics than women coaches and officials.

It is quite likely that, irrespective of those disparities, our women athletes and competitors will probably achieve greater results than our male athletes, as they traditionally have done on a per capita basis. A view of most of Australia's representation in Commonwealth and Olympic games shows consistently that women outperform men in Australian sport. That is a bit of an aside, but I think it goes to a very serious issue - the need for us as a community to concentrate on the reasons why men in sport have actually fared better in terms of resources and participation than women.

The women's jogalong is a great event and it has achieved this enormous result. There were 400 women in one event last Sunday, and a total of 1,700 women participated throughout the year. It is a colossal result and it has been achieved as a result of some hard work and some dedication from a group of people associated with the Cross Country Club.

One of the things I would like to draw to the attention of members is the formula that was employed. It was the need to provide some events for women who do not wish to be overtly competitive in an environment in which they do not feel exposed to overtly competitive behaviour and where they are allowed to maintain some dignity in terms of their performance. It was the need to provide sporting opportunities where women can socialise in a non-threatening, social and friendly environment. It was the need to gain some sense of achievement out of the event. The jogalong is a handicap event and every participant manages to gain that sense of achievement. It was the need for women to have a safe environment in which to be able to exercise in safety. There is a range of

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