Finding gender equality with sport and rec board quotas

Published: 2 July 2019

Poster image - We're on board

The Victorian Government is continuing to lead the charge when it comes to gender equality in sport and recreation.

From 1 July 2019, all peak organisations receiving program funding from Sport and Recreation Victoria and VicHealth must meet a quota for 40 per cent women on boards. 93 per cent of sporting bodies are already meeting this target. 

In any industry, it is reasonable to expect boards and leadership teams to reflect their communities. However, women remain under-represented in off-field leadership roles across the Victorian sport and active recreation sector. 

Director of the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation, Dr Bridie O’Donnell welcomed the introduction of the 40 per cent women on boards quota. 

“A major focus over the past three years has been to mandate gender balance and good governance principles. 1 July 2019 marks an important milestone in creating gender equality in the Victorian Sport and Recreation sector. Board quotas will ensure women are provided with necessary opportunities to take on leadership roles and contribute in a way which will enhance and strengthen the Victorian sport and recreation sector.” 

A coordinated and collaborative approach driven jointly by the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation and VicHealth, the challenge was set, and organisations responded. 93 per cent of eligible organisations have now achieved quota. This is a significant improvement on January 2017 figures where only 44 per cent of organisations had at least 40 per cent women on their boards. 

“The introduction of the board quota has been a leading piece of work across government and it was evident from the beginning of this project that there was a strong appetite for change across the sector.” 

“I would also like to acknowledge the work of Vicsport and the support they have provided to the sector to ensure organisations are best placed to meet the requirement.” Dr O’Donnell said.

VicHealth Acting CEO, Dr Lyn Roberts said the results showed targets were clearly effective.

“If we want to drive change in relation to gender equality in sport, women need an equal place in the boardroom,” Dr Roberts said. 

“It’s been fantastic to see our funded sports partners demonstrate their commitment to gender equality and work hard to reach the board quota. 

“The huge increase in sports organisations meeting the target clearly shows targets are driving change.”

For more information, visit Change our Game website