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Female sporting leaders on a pathway to a promising future

Hundreds of women with a passion for sport will be supported to further their careers under Sport Australia’s 2022 Women Leaders in Sport (WLIS) program.

Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck
Former Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services
Former Minister for Sport

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Hundreds of women with a passion for sport will be supported to further their careers under Sport Australia’s 2022 Women Leaders in Sport (WLIS) program.

In all, 489 women across 34 sports will benefit from the initiative, which has helped strengthen the role of women leaders in sport for more than two decades.

Minister for Women Marise Payne said increasing the number of women leaders in sport was a priority for the Morrison Government.

“We are pleased to support a program that empowers women in sport and helps organisations create more diverse and inclusive workplaces,” Minister Payne said.

Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck said the program provides valuable leadership development opportunities for women on and off the field.

“Through the WLIS program we are supporting the next generation of women sports leaders,” Minister Colbeck said. “By assisting women leaders, coaches and match officials with their career development and creating more leadership pathways for women we are taking important steps towards achieving gender equity in sport.”

Sport Australia Acting CEO Rob Dalton said the program, which began in 2002, continues to receive strong interest from the sector.

“This financial year saw a record number of individuals apply for funding which is testament to the program’s reputation and success in developing women leaders in sport.”

“So far more than 26,000 women and over 800 local, state and national sporting organisations have benefitted from this program and we look forward to supporting even more women in the future as we strive for a greater balance of men and women in senior positions in sport.”

WLIS is delivered by Sport Australia with the support of the Office for Women with individuals and organisations sharing in more than $526,000 in grants this financial year.

Seventy women will share $296,000 in funding for professional development opportunities.

They include Cheryl Kostich from Riding for the Disabled Association of Australia (RDAA) who will use her grant funding to undertake a Diploma of Human Resources Management at Swinburne University.

“I am excited by the opportunity to gain new skills and adapt them to my role,” Kostich said.

“This course will help me gain a greater understanding of HR management which I can use to provide qualified guidance and support to RDAA staff and the wider Riding for the Disabled community.”

Co-founder of not-for-profit organisation Siren Sport, Kirby Fenwick, will use her grant funding to study content design.

“It’s wonderful to get this kind of support to upskill and extend my knowledge in a really practical way. The skills and knowledge I will gain through this course will not only help me to build on my own work in sports media but will equip me with tools and tips that I can share with colleagues and interns.”

Thirteen sporting organisations will also share in $230,000 in funding to deliver leadership programs in their workplaces.

Surf Life Saving Tasmania (SLST) will establish a leadership and development program to support women who work in volunteer managerial positions.

“This program will allow us to develop the individual professional skills of participants to ensure diversity of leadership for SLST at all levels,” SLST Director Joanne Stolp said.

“Our aim is to create a legacy of participants that are ready to mentor, coach and support our future female leaders.”

Paddle Australia will use its funding to create an inclusive culture and support more women in their organisation.

“We will work with our high performance staff and selected athletes to develop their leadership skills including how to communicate, negotiate and manage conflict – whether that’s in the high performance or executive environment or as a National Coach,” Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement National Manager Matt Murphy said.

A full list of 2022 recipients is available on the Women Leaders in Sport website.



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