As the Head, Office for Women in Sport and Recreation in Victoria, Dr Bridie O’Donnell has been invited to provide opening remarks at the Women in Sport Summit next month.
“For me at the moment, my three major priorities are around participation, leadership and facilities. Where are women visibly leading sport?
"We have nowhere near enough women in leadership roles everywhere, from grassroots to high performance. We saw in the Commonwealth Games, 50 percent of the medals were won by women, 10 percent of the coaches were women.
O'Donnell would also like to see more support for women looking at going into coaching or already in coaching by creating pathways for them and most importantly not being yelled at by those on the sideline.
"Some years ago, a young female umpire was vilified by a sidelined parent," she said.
"In that case, there was a failure of governance by that organisation to adequately support this girl who had been educated and employed by that sport, but when it came to a conflict, she wasn't supported by her organisation or its Board, so nothing happened."
Another key area driving O’Donnell is around facilities with issues such as no field lighting which has meant less use of facilities during the year, clubs not having change rooms for men and women, or not having change rooms in general.
“We can say bright and shiny toilets and change rooms aren’t everything, but they are a damn good start. If your daughter, or friend or sister or girlfriend feels safe enough to go and play and get changed and have somewhere to go afterwards to shower and be part of that club and have a beer or a lemonade, she’s going to feel like she’s in the community and fabric of that club as opposed to well I’ll just drive home in my uniform and not part of the club.
"The idea around change that we’re seeing is that we need to change culture about what is appropriate and what’s normal. I mean that from a base level of respect for all people and inclusion of all people.
The rate of change is something which O’Donnell has quoted, stating that at the current rate, change or more specifically, equality will take 177 years to attain. Is what we’re doing and seeing enough?
“What I think we’re seeing is very small incremental change which very often we don’t notice as quickly,” O’Donnell said and then went on to reference the mother of Transcend Foundation ambassador Georgie Stone who said.