International Women’s Day 2021: Push For More Women Sporting Statues
etball Victoria, in a statement released on International Women’s Day 2021, has put out a call for more women sporting statues across Melbourne.
Currently, there are 29 male sporting statues across Melbourne, and only three women sporting statues, motivating Netball Victoria to urge the state government for funding to install a new statue at the John Cain Arena.
Netball Victoria CEO, Rosie King, said the sport of netball has been a driver for female empowerment on and off the court and remains the number one team sport for females in the country, and a statue should be installed to reflect the impact and future aspirations of women’s sport.
“There is absolutely no denying that every male athlete immortalised in bronze across the city of Melbourne is worthy of the honour,” King said.
“These athletes have inspired past generations and will continue to do so well into the future.
“But the gap between male and female sports icons is too wide.
“We have to empower our young women by showing them that they are equally as capable of achieving excellence in sport by reflecting the same icons and tributes that our male athletes have enjoyed.
“Statues are powerful symbols that stand the test of time.
“They are monuments that matter which tell stories about how we as a community view the world and are a constant reminder of the legacy that our sporting legends have left with their sport, and we need to acknowledge our incredible women in far greater numbers.
“We know that sport is a powerful vehicle for change and now more than ever, we need to visibly promote the success of our female athletes who are in every way as worthy as the men.
“Statues may be silent but their presence in our community speaks volumes.
“A bronze statue is something that is permanent and really is iconic.
“You can go and have a photo with it, learn about the athlete.
“They are a meeting point for people, you meet around the ’G and identify which statue you will be standing near.
“That permanent symbolism can’t be supplanted by a hologram or digital representation, it has to be something that recognises the icon.
“Change sometimes has to be forced, we can’t rely on it to organically happen because we know that organic change just takes too long.
“This kind of equity needs to be forced, changed and challenged,” she said.
Currently, the three women sporting statues in Melbourne include the recently installed AFLW star, Tayla Harris statue at Docklands, and Australian Olympic champions, Betty Cuthbert, and Shirley Strickland at the MCG.
The Netball Victoria proposal includes the names of proposed women sporting statues, with legendary netball athletes and coaches Sharelle McMahon, Joyce Brown, Lisa Alexander, Simone McKinnis, and Norma Plummer all listed as the potential statue recipients.
Elsewhere, Origin Australian Diamonds head coach, Stacey Marinkovich, said on the 2021 International Women’s Day theme of ‘Choose to Challenge’, people need to choose to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes, and help forge an inclusive world.
“Having been involved in netball my entire life, I’ve seen first-hand how opportunities have changed for women, not only in sport, but in business and broader society over the past few decades,” Marinkovich said.
“International Women’s Day has been, is and should always be the celebration of all women, no matter their background, culture, lifestyle choice or profession.
“We should be treated with equality and I have the strong belief that your level of commitment, ability and your hard work should be what creates your opportunity.
“With the change in society over the years, women are empowered to be the best they can be and, therefore, are influencing and contributing to all circles within society.
“We all play a role in seeing this continue to progress in the future and it’s important that we all stand up challenge gender bias when we see it within our community,” she said.