ACT clubs are committed supporters of women’s sport and a large proportion of their community contributions create opportunities for female participation, despite the current reporting system downplaying this investment.
This week, ACT Greens Spokesperson for Sports and Recreation, Shane Rattenbury criticised clubs over a finding in the latest report on Community Contributions made by Gaming Machine Licensees that only around three per cent of total contributions go to women’s sport.
“This figure is very misleading as clubs tend not to specifically report their contributions to women’s sport,” Clubs ACT Chief Executive, Gwyn Rees explained.
“The reasons for this are varied, but the main one is that clubs support sports played by and sporting infrastructure used by men and women. In this day and age it would be difficult, and counter to our views on equality, to differentiate between sports, and therefore contributions, based on sex.
“Boys are playing netball, and girls are playing AFL. In fact, a recent survey by Roy Morgan shows more women are involved in traditional male sports, like boxing, than men are. Clubs provide for these sports and simply report the overall contribution to that sport.”
ACT clubs are investing in sports traditionally viewed as female, for example at least nine netball clubs and Netball ACT are supported by local clubs. In addition, clubs have supported some of our top female sports stars such as Caroline Buchanan.
“However, these are underreported as contributions to women’s sport,” Mr Rees said. “This underreporting occurs because clubs are not recognising sports as male and female and because administratively it would be difficult to separate out the percentage of women playing a certain sport or utilising sporting infrastructure in order to determine how much is going to women’s sport.
“For instance, one of the examples used in the Community Contributions report is funding to the Gungahlin Jets Junior Football Club. This football club has mixed juniors teams and youth girls teams. Therefore, a contribution to this club is contributing to female participation.
“Similarly, the Vikings Group has been supporting the Independent Disabled Tenpin Bowlers of the ACT since 1998. Both men and women compete in tenpin bowling.”
Club contributions to women’s sport are adjusted for Community Contribution reporting under an incentive scheme allowing a licensee to claim $4 for every $3 spent on women’s sport.
“If clubs did report all the funding which increases female participation, the overall contribution would go up and it would be possible for them to spend less ‘real’ dollars on community sport. The underreporting shows this is not something clubs want to do.
“While clubs are already significantly contributing to women’s sport, we can absolutely do better in this space,” Mr Rees concluded. “It is time to talk about how reporting can be effectively improved so we can monitor and grow contributions to women’s sport.”