Monash University's inaugural Women in Sport Luncheon was held on Friday the 21st of October 2022 and celebrated female leadership in Monash based sporting programs.
The event was a wonderful success, highlighting how sport participation provides opportunities for female students to become leaders at a young age. It launched the conversation about how we can create a network that supports and celebrates what women achieve, and provided an opportunity to initiate greater conversations about how to overcome the barriers to female participation in sport and encourage innovation that supports this vision.
In Australia, sport is a key part of national identity. Exceptional female athletes have made significant contributions to Australian sport, bringing home medals, winning championships and competing at the highest levels. Examples include the continued success of the Diamonds netball team on the world stage, the foundation of the AFLW, and the Opals basketball team remaining in top-3 positions in international competitions.
Monash is excited to be taking steps to support females in reaching their full potential both on and off the field, with one such example being this inaugural Women in Sport Luncheon.
The event aimed to be a catalyst for conversations within sporting programs, with
Senior Research Associate Amanda Davies at the helm. The Monash Volleyball Club President and Coach led the event, saying she was excited that “this is only the very beginning of what is hopefully a supportive, encouraging and uplifting movement focusing on women's leadership in sport.”
Recounting her experiences competing and working in sport, Amanda discussed the phenomenon of imposter syndrome which plagues many women throughout their sporting and professional careers, preventing them from reaching their full potential.
“We would like to launch the conversation about how we might create an ecosystem that supports and celebrates what women achieve,” she said.
Davies highlighted that women often don’t pursue leadership positions within their sporting and professional careers, due to self-doubt and a lack of female role models in similar positions.
Australian professional basketball player, Lauren Jackson, a former WNBA player and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee, was the inaugural speaker at the event.
Lauren shared her experiences throughout her career as a woman in sport from her start in basketball to juggling being a mother, professional athlete and full-time employee.
“One thing I’ve learnt from sport is that I’m a lot more confident in my skin and in my size, knowing my power as a woman, as a leader.”
She tackled the issue of female leadership in sport saying, “to me it is evolving. I think it’s something that we’ve talked about for a really long time and we see a lot more women in sport and a lot more visibility about women in sport.
“I think we are starting to see women take leadership positions, particularly around social activism, especially around issues that men in sport aren’t particularly comfortable talking about.”
“For a long time athletes didn’t stand up and talk about mental health or homophobia in sport. The activism and what women in sport are now doing in highlighting these issues and really talking about them is absolutely wonderful.”
This positive change for women in sport is hopefully just the beginning of a movement towards greater equality, participation and initiatives in the future.
Monash’s Performance, Representation and Engagement Programs (PREP) team will continue working on this opportunity moving forward and are open to suggestions and ideas about how to better engage and support women in sport.
If you would like to find out more or are passionate about this cause, please head to our website!
To view all the photos from the event, visit our Facebook page here.
To watch our Women in Sport video click here.
Written by Olivia Mc Mahon