Women In Sport

Female Participation in Sport Grants

Female Sports Participation Grants were introduced into the City's grants program as part of a broader strategy to improve women and girl's participation in sport and accessibility to City of Vincent sportsgrounds and facilities. Grants of up to $2,000 aim to assist clubs to establish activities, programs or projects that promote and encourage equal participation of women and girls in sports.

Case Study | Smash it Ladies!

In March 2019, Leederville Tennis Club became the first group to receive a Female Participation in Sport Grant for their 'Smash it Ladies!' program.

This initiative offered a free, four week tennis program for women and girls aged 16+ to have a go in a safe and supportive environment. With the help of a Female Participation in Sport Grant, Leederville Tennis Club was able to offer this program free of charge, with professional coaching and prizes at the end of the program.

The program was a huge success, reaching the initial goal of 20 participants quickly. Following it's popularity, a second program was added for a total of 55 participants over both programs.

A survey of participants after the program indicated that the fact that sessions were female only was a big contributor to the decision to participate, as well as it being a free program. The survey also found that costs and lack of time were identified as key barriers for the women involved in participating in sport generally, highlighting the need for programs that are affordable and held at times that work around family commitments.

The club has indicated that they will be offering similar programs in the future and will also look at modifying the program to offer for other cohorts, such as families/ kids sessions. This is a fantastic result for the club and the community.

The City would like to invite its sporting clubs to get in touch regarding opportunities to utilise the Female Participation in Sports grants for programs or events this financial year. Grants of up to $2,000 are available and the City can also assist with promotion of your initiative. To find out more or to discuss ideas for increasing female participation in sport at your club, please contact the Community Development team on 9273 6580 or visit community.development@vincent.wa.gov.au

Spotlight On Women In Sport

Across February and March 2019, we celebrated some of Vincent's most inspirational women and girls in sport.

Emma Gollagher

Leederville Mt Hawthorn Junior Cricket Club

Emma became involved in cricket when she was in year two and the In-2-Cricket program was introduced at her school and all kids were given a cricket lesson. From day one Emma loved playing cricket asked her mum and dad if she could play cricket! She joined Leederville Mt Hawthorn Junior Cricket Club straight away however there was a period in which she could not play because neither club had an all-girls team that she could join. Happily, Leederville Mt Hawthorn Cricket Club had an under thirteens all-girls team that Emma could join and she is now playing under fifteens specialising as a wicketkeeper and batter.

In her spare time, Emma also loves playing hockey and has been playing with Modernians Hockey Club since she was in year one. Emma also sometimes plays soccer for her school.

Emma has a passion for learning and plays piano and violin, if that was not enough, she enjoys reading and drawing in her spare time.

Her proudest sporting moments include feats such as: the first time she scored a goal in hockey, the first time she smashed a four in cricket and the time she especially caught a ball one-handed that would have been a six!

To encourage more women and girls to play sports Emma thinks sport should be marketed in a more exciting way.


Karen Wickham

Volleyball WA

When Karen moved to WA in early 2015 from Trinidad and Tobago, she was looking for a position in the sport industry for a few months and an opportunity came up for a volunteer Operations Assistant position at Volleyball WA (VWA). Karen volunteered for approximately two months, one to two days a week while job hunting. Fortunately, a full time position came up in July for a Diversity and Participation Coordinator and she got the job! Two years later, Karen has been promoted to Participation and Development Manager at VWA.

Karen played soccer and swam most of her life. She plays some recreation volleyball when the opportunity arises and she loves spectating as volleyball is really exciting to watch. 

To increase her knowledge of the sport, Karen has done volleyball coaching courses and has coached some volleyball in the past at primary schools and community clinics.

When Karen isn’t coaching, playing or volunteering she is usually exploring WA or catching up with friends.

Karen believes that volleyball is excellent for fun, safe exercise. It does not require too much to get a game going with friends and now VWA has made it even easier for WA to get involved in the sport with our Discover Volleyball initiative. Volleyball is a world sport and she has seen first-hand how it can bring communities together in WA.

Robyn Kuhl, CEO of VWA is a big inspiration to Karen. Robyn has been in the sport industry for a long time and someone from whom Karen has learnt a lot in her years at VWA. Robyn believed in Karen’s abilities when she even doubted herself. Robyn is a champion of change for gender diversity in sport.

Her proudest sporting memory was watching VWA’s Afghan Female community volleyball group play in the annual Alcohol. Think Again Country of Origin only five months after learning to play volleyball together!

To encourage more women and girls to play, volunteer or coach sport Karen believe that’s annual community sports day for women and girls are key – it could be an event where sporting clubs in the city that offer programs for females can come and promote their programs and run “Have a Go” activities to get them engaged.


Sara Gunn

Loton Park Tennis Club

Sara got into tennis thanks to her parents who played and the church she went to had two multi-purpose courts, on which tennis was played during the summer and netball during the winter. Given this, Sara grew up playing both netball and tennis.

Five years ago Sara joined Loton Park Tennis Club and is now the Ground Coordinator for the club.

Sara has enjoyed playing many sports over the years. Netball as a child, basketball and indoor volleyball as a teenager and tennis the whole way through. Sara loves watching a lot of sports and is particularly amazed by rock-climbing, she would love to do more of that!

Over the summer, Sara plays tennis once to twice a week: once a week competitively and social tennis on Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoon when work allows. Currently, Sara looks after the grounds at Loton Park Tennis Club which usually sees her down at the club once a week doing various jobs around the place and generally keeping the plants from becoming triffid-like!

The thing Sara really loves about tennis, especially at Loton Park is that anyone can come down and have a hit. Someone may have only played as a child or wants to play competitively and Loton Park TC offers those options. Sara has seen several people start out not being able to play at all, and due to their enthusiasm, encouragement and help from club members they have started playing competitively against other clubs. People like that remind Sara just how lucky she is to have had the opportunities growing up that she did.

Sara is inspired by people who have overcome hardship to pursue what they love. Sara is extremely grateful to have such a loving and caring family and support network around her!

Her proudest sporting memory is winning the mixed double pennants a couple of years ago. Her team overcame the unbeatable team to win! She is so proud to have been involved with an international tennis tournament that Loton Park holds early in January. It is part of the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Association and after its first year was awarded Masters status (only one of five tournaments given that status out of hundreds of competitions), which is like being given grand slam status (think Wimbledon, Australian, French and US opens). Seeing all the players from around the world come and have a great time and play some great tennis was truly inspiring.

Keeping girls in sport as they become teenagers and adults is not a new struggle. Sara suggests that funding support and coaching or umpiring courses are key.


Martine Pearman

Subiaco Football Club

Martine began playing AFL 14 years ago with the Coastal Titans Women’s Football Club (Now Subiaco Women's FC), and commenced coaching AFL in 2010 when she retired from playing, she then moved to Subiaco Football Club in a coaching capacity in 2015. She has coached all year around for the past two years with the Subiaco Football Club and Fremantle in the AFLW.

AFL is a favourite of Martine's because of its competitive contested nature, it’s so unique and it now provides a pathway for female players. She is inspired by athletes that apply themselves and achieve their goals.

Martine has two mentors within the Subiaco Football club that constantly guide her. Their support is invaluable.

One of Martine’s proudest sporting moments was winning two premierships, back-to-back with my reserves boys at Subiaco.

To encourage more women and girls to play, volunteer or coach sport Martine feels the key is to provide more resources and funding towards female club and programs within the district. This in turn will allow for better facilities to train at, better lighting and quality coaching.


Mikayla Morrison

East Perth Football Club

Throughout primary school there were many AFL competitions and carnivals which Mikayla would always participate in. She started at East Perth Football Club 2016.

In her spare time, Mikayla also plays netball but AFL is her favourite. Mikayla plays football once a week on Sundays and trains two days a week. 

Mikayla loves the amount of friends she has made from her many years of playing football in different teams.

Mikayla is inspired by her cousin, Darnell Morrison. Ever since she was little she has looked up to him in so many ways, especially when it came to footy.

In 2018 Mikayla won Best on Ground at the Yorga’s Koodjal Kadadjiny “Women’s Two Way Learning Match” and was crowned East Perth Royal’s Youth Girls Captain. We cannot wait to see what 2019 brings for Mikayla!


Charlize Underwood

Mt Hawthorn

Charlize is a sporting powerhouse! She is an outstanding netball player and also enjoys hip hop dancing, playing ultimate frisbee, long distance running and athletics through school.

Training and conditioning her body for the mental and physical toughness of netball takes up a large portion of her week. During the season, Charlize trains six days a week for at least two-three hours per day minimum, some days she even fits in three training sessions! Charlize is also a firm believer in the benefits of yoga and mindfulness.

Along with other commitments, Charlize also works closely with the company NETFIT Netball to encourage and inspire netballers of all ages through fitness, empowerment and health/wellbeing. Charlize uses media, specifically Instagram, to connect with NETFIT members and write weekly blog style posts that help to inspire and encourage, being the company’s main values. Charlize loves being outside and active and her absolute favourite thing to do is go to the beach with her friends and family.

“I decided I wanted to start playing netball at the age of six for my primary school in year two after watching a live game. Back then I had possibly the best coach I have ever had…my mum! I truly believe that I owe all my netball success to my Mum. She was there from day one and is still my biggest supporter to this day. I started in Netta which is similar to the current Net Set Go program. My passion for netball blossomed almost immediately from the moment I stepped onto the grass court to play my first game.”

When asked what Charlize thinks we can do to encourage more girls/women to play sport and stick with it this was her insightful response:

“I feel there is massive potential within the City of Vincent to increase and engage more female adolescents into getting out of the house and becoming more physically active. Through experience I know the transition from primary school to high school, the added workload through the senior years and trying to find yourself through it all is difficult for teenagers and this unfortunately often leads to a drop in sports participation, specifically for young females. I would love to see education sessions being held for both parents and students within local primary schools (mainly year six’s) about the importance of an active life during high school and beyond as it would have a positive impact on the amount of female adolescents participating in sports. It would also be great to see open days at male predominant sporting clubs or athletes from different sporting backgrounds run clinics to engage females to play sports. I believe that if we were to make females feel more supported and welcome in sporting environments, we would have a massive increase in participation as well as helping to boost the confidence levels and self-esteem of many young girls within the City of Vincent.”


Modernians Hockey Club

North Perth

Modernians (Mods) Hockey Club believe that hockey is for everyone - young and old, men and women, girls and boys and that you can play it your whole life. At Mods our youngest players are five years old and our oldest are 70+. We have whole families that play in different teams at Mods and this year, once again, we saw three generations of one family in Mods colours!

Mods engages as many members of our community in hockey as possible. We know that being part of an organised sports team is a valuable tool in building social inclusivity, mental and physical wellbeing and a vibrant community. What we also know is that engaging and retaining girls and women in sport can be challenging. For many of our girls, their lives become particularly busy in high school with social and school commitments. Consequently, we do our best to make sure that there is enough flexibility around training and teams to accommodate study and other commitments.

The club recognises that retaining girls in sport post-school can also be challenging. Mods have developed pathways to encourage junior girls to transition to senior teams, rather than dropping out of sport when they leave school: “Most of our junior girls have had the opportunity to play in a senior team from time to time during their junior years and are familiar with senior players and coaches. Many of our junior coaches are also senior players. Hopefully, because they know so many of our senior players, the transition to seniors is a little less daunting than it might otherwise be for these young women! What we are also really, really pleased to see is the number of Mums who have spent a lot of time watching their kids play hockey, picking up a stick and joining one of our senior teams, sometimes after quite a break from team sports. I know this makes for fairly competitive leading goal scorer discussions in some households!”

The Mods committee are inspired by all of their volunteers who care so much about the Club and our community. It takes many hours of volunteer time to make Mods Hockey Club go round and we are fortunate to have so many people who give of their time.

The club believes it is important that the City invests in infrastructure that allows women and girls to be part of organised sport at a grass roots level. Failure to do this will not only see women and girls not engage in sport but also drop out as the facilities are inadequate.


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