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Australia’s Top Sporting Codes Renew Commitment To Prevent Violence Against Women

T
he AFL, Rugby Australia, NRL, Netball Australia, and Football Federation Australia (FFA) have all renewed their commitment to working with Our Watch to prevent violence against women.

The five national sporting organisations (NSOs), in committing to prevent violence against women, have signed a leadership statement pledging to use their influence to progress gender equality, diversity and inclusion in their workplaces.

Our Watch CEO, Patty Kinnersly, said the recovery efforts of Australian sports following COVID-19 must prioritise women’s sport and the creation of leadership opportunities for women in sport.

“Sports leaders set the tone, which is why it is so important they continue to take a zero-tolerance approach to disrespect and violence against women,” Kinnersly said.

“I applaud the AFL, NRL, Rugby Australia, FFA, and Netball Australia for taking this important step today.

“Only together will we be able to turn the dial towards achieving gender equality so we can work towards an Australia that is free from violence against women and their children,” she said.

The commitment renewal comes after the first joint leadership statement and partnership that was formed in 2016, before the FFA joined later in 2018.

Netball Australia chief executive, Marne Fechner, said sport has a “tremendous opportunity” to use its influence to create positive social change.

“Netball Australia has had a long-standing vision of empowering women and girls to shine, while enriching and connecting communities and, as the number one participation sport for women and girls in Australia, we have an enormous opportunity to harness the sport’s reach to further educate and change attitudes around violence,” Fechner said.

“Netball is committed to working alongside Our Watch to ensure that women and girls around Australia know they should expect respect, and that violence against women is not okay in any circumstance,” she said.

AFL CEO, Gillon McLachlan, said the AFL remained focused on continuously improving its capacity to create inclusive, healthy, and safe environments for everyone – players, coaches, umpires, officials, volunteers, and fans.

“Everyone is welcome in our game and we will continue to work towards ensuring everyone feels included and safe at all levels of Australian Football,” McLachlan said.

“We know the power of sport in driving change and the AFL is proud to partner with Our Watch in promoting attitudes and instilling behaviours that are respectful to and supportive of women,” he said.

FFA CEO, James Johnson, also said: “We are a global leader in women’s football and are proud of our multicultural origins, its rich history, and diverse and growing football community.”

“Our XI Principles for the future of Australian football demonstrate our commitment to fostering an environment that is safe and inclusive, so our participants feel welcomed and valued.

“Fair representation of women on boards, committees and in senior administrative roles; the establishment of strong requirements for gender parity and diversity across the game; and enhancing programs to promote a culturally diverse and inclusive game are various measures contemplated by FFA,” he said.

As part of the renewed commitment, Our Watch has launches its new Equality and Respect in Sport website to assist the NSOs in promoting gender equality within their organisations, with evidence-based tools and resources designed to meet their needs.