With the issue of women in sport currently at the foreground of the media, the upcoming Asia Pacific World Sport and Women Conference (APWSW) is a timely event claiming to highlight the drastic inequality between men and women in the sports industry, while encouraging more progress on this issue.
The recent appointment of Super Retail Group’s Managing Director, Erica Berchtold, on the board of the A-League football club Sydney FC, signifies necessary, albeit slow, change in the sports industry. As one of the first female board members involved in football at an elite level, she believes there should be more women on A-League club boards and sport in general, a topic she will discuss at the APWSW Conference later this month.
Dr Johanna Adriaanse, a speaker at the APWSW event and a leading academic who has studied the place of women in sports leadership, agrees with Berchtold. “I think there is a bit of a shift in thinking — the sports organisations don’t question any more if they should have women on their boards. But we really need to go beyond numbers. It doesn’t mean much if you have 40 per cent women on boards unless that is reflected in the decision-making, the policies and the programs, the allocation of resources,’’ says Dr Adriaanse in a recent interview with The Australian.
Another APWSW key speaker Stephanie Brantz recently spoke to Mamamia.com.au about the necessity for more women’s sports to be shown in the media. “It’s important for girls to have people that they can look up to. It’s been shown that girls look up to women who play sport and research has linked it to better academic results at school, a higher rate of going through to university. And in an era where we are told from a young age that looks are everything, sport is a wonderful avenue for giving girls confidence, self-esteem and better body image,” says Stephanie.
Held on 27-28 October 2014 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the APWSW program is dedicated to raising awareness around ways in which women can gain the same media coverage, sponsorship dollars, representation on boards and placement in senior roles as their male counterparts in the business of sports.
Attending companies have been confirmed and key companies include; Athletics Australia, Australian Olympic Committee, Australian Sports Commission, Cricket Australia, Cycling Australia, Golf Australia, Gymnastics Australia, National Rugby League, Surfing Australia, and Tennis Australia.