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Carbon Mentoring Launched To Address Female Teen Participation In Sport

C
arbon Mentoring is set to deliver a mentoring programme designed to pair teenage female athletes in male dominated sports with elite female mentors from the same sport.

The programme aims to reduce the amount of teenage female athletes that leave or drop out of sport, following a pilot programme among Victorian rugby union athletes, with the efforts to expand across sports such as AFL, cricket, football, and motorsport.

Carbon Mentoring founder and director, James Liley, said the female mentors from elite or professional sports will be coached in mentoring skills using the Australian Sports Commission Mentor Training framework.

“Today (Sunday 11 October) is [United Nations] International Day of the Girl, which seemed like the perfect opportunity to present our new venture to the world,” Liley said.

“On August 26th, 2020 I watched Professor Rochelle Eime of Victoria University present the findings from her latest research study, ‘Longitudinal Trends in Sport Participation and Retention of Women and Girls’.

“The striking takeaway from the research re-confirms that female secondary school aged girls are the group at highest risk of leaving sport or dropping out of sport completely.

“While adult female athletes are well catered for across the sport mentoring and coaching industry, there are no programmes available to support our most vulnerable athletes, our teenage girls.

“Carbon Mentoring will address this gap and help reduce female talent attrition from sport,” he said.

Victoria University Institute for Health and Sport professor of sport participation, Professor Rochelle Eime, said the Carbon Mentoring programme will “hopefully” help reduce the amount of teenage female athletes that leave sport.

“Women and girls participate in sport at much lower rates than boys and men and participation specifically for females drop off significantly during adolescence,” Eime said.

“The Carbon Mentoring program provides a great opportunity for females in male-dominated sports to be mentored by female sports role-models and hopefully lead to improved retention of female players across different sports,” she said.

Liley also said the pilot event with Victorian rugby union athletes was helped by the strong engagement from a number of mentors.

“We have had a great response with mentors quickly engaged for our first cohort of Victorian rugby union mentees including Wallaroos and SuperW players such as Alana Thomas (ex-Wallaroo and current SuperW coach), Georgia Cormick (current Wallaroo), Melanie Kawa (PNG’s first female professional rugby player, 7s coach and SuperW co-captain), and Meretiana Robinson (SuperW co-captain).

“Raelene Castle (former Rugby Australia CEO), co-founder of Minerva, an athlete mentoring network for women, sits across the mentor panel as a coach and advisor,” he said.

Melbourne Rebels SuperW coach, Alana Thomas, said mentoring is really important for the future of women’s sport.

“If you can see it, you can be it,” Thomas said.

“It is really important for teenage girls to see other females being successful, particularly in traditionally male dominated sports.

“Women’s sport is in such a growth phase around the world, we need to ensure that this continues and that young girls remain involved.

“Being mentored is so powerful,” she said.