Netball has a unique place in the lives of literally millions of women and girls around our world, and especially in the hearts and minds of Australian women and girls.
Netball is also important to families, dads, grandfathers and sons who also play, coach, umpire and organise.
Today I wish to focus on the achievements of our sport in empowering women and girls, especially in Australia.
Netball is the largest participation sport for women and girls in Australia and this should be shouted from the rooftops. We are in every state and territory, every city and every country town in Australia and there are countless stories of inspiration, achievement, resilience, courage, teamwork, community, charity, support and social cohesion.
This is the story that is most powerful on International Women’s Day 2019.
Netball has empowered and taught the strength of leadership, responsibility and duty to women and girls for nearly 100 years.
Our sport leads the way in this area and continues to assists in achieving gender balance and equality, in sport and in society.
We know we still have a way to go in embracing men and boys into our sport from the grassroots, through community level sport and all the way to the men’s state and Australian teams; it is happening, has happened over time and will continue to evolve and grow. As it should! I adore and love the men and boys involved in our sport here in Australia and beyond our shores.
Language and actions are important details in the behaviour change process in relation to gender equality.
Inclusive, empowering and encouraging language and actions ensure we are all ‘fair dinkum’ about gender quality.
Too often I turn to the sports pages and the sports shows in this country and I am disappointed with the coverage of netball particularly, and women’s sport in general. As the saying goes you cannot be what you cannot see.
Netball also has a responsibility to tell its story better, with more focus on highlighting achievement, more focus on the women and girls’ stories, and more critical analysis of our sport.
Thank you to Channel 9, who has the courage and bravery to show netball where it should be – on free-to-air television!
Thank you also to our wonderful corporate partners for their ongoing support of netball, from grassroots, right through to our Samsung Australian Diamonds.
We know we are world-class in so many ways, let’s work together to tell Australia this story.
Balance for better.