Kate Palmer: “Gross under-representation of women in high-performance coaching and executive positions”

Sport Australia and the AIS are today launching a new initiative that will give aspiring female sport executives and high-performance coaches an opportunity to learn from the elite.

The AIS Talent Program is open for applications now to female sport executives and high-performance coaches, which the AIS has identified as key positions requiring more diversity in the Australian sporting sector.

Sport Australia CEO, Kate Palmer, says Sport Australia and the AIS are committed to gender diversity across the organisation, sport and society more broadly.

“Sport Australia and the AIS have a suite of programs to enhance diversity in sport, but the AIS Talent Program has been created to specifically address what remains a gross under-representation of women in high-performance coaching and executive positions,” Palmer said.

“In executive positions, women represent 22 per cent of Board Chairs and just 13 per cent of CEOs across more than 60 national sporting organisations that are funded by Sport Australia and the AIS.

“The picture is no better for female high-performance coaches, who represent less than 15 per cent of coaches across Australia’s high-performance system.

“Looking at Olympic sports as an example, only 15 of the 160 accredited coaches at the 2016 Rio Olympics were female – just nine per cent.

“That’s a declining trend when you consider it was 12 per cent at the 2012 London Olympics,” she said.

“The rise in profile of women’s professional leagues has been fantastic for the progress of female athletes, but that hasn’t translated into the same opportunities for female coaches and leaders.

“We need to address any systemic biases preventing females taking up these opportunities.

“These statistics are not acceptable and we need to initiate systemic change now.

“The AIS Talent Program will be designed to deliver transformational skills for women in sport who are ready to progress to these leadership positions.

“It will help identify, develop, retain and progress talent that can challenge the status quo and increase diversity in sport.”

Candidates can follow this link to apply for the Talent Program, with positions available for 16 executives and 16 high-performance coaches.

The 12-month program will be fully funded by the AIS and Office for Women.