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Women in Sport

Prepared by: Christine May, Senior Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport
Evaluated by: Professor Clare Hanlon, Susan Alberti Women in Sport, Victoria University (August 2019)
Last updated: 15 October 2020
Content disclaimer: See Clearinghouse for Sport disclaimer

In Australia, women are under-represented in organised sport—as participants, coaches, officials, administrators, and board members—when compared to their male cohort. A variety of strategies exist to help equalise opportunities for girls and women, however, concerns continue on how gender bias may prevent them from receiving the full benefits that sport and physical activity (PA) can offer.

Key messages


In general women are more likely than men to be insufficiently active [59% compared to 50%, when including workplace PA] and less likely to play sport. AusPlay data shows that 50% of Australian women and 72% of girls regularly participate in sport related activities.


In 2019, women comprised 24% of CEOs across 63 national sporting organisations (NSOs) funded by Sport Australia, and 15% of the high performance coaches across the system. At the 2016 Rio Olympic Games only 9% of accredited Australian coaches were women.


Health, fun and socialising are key motivators for girls and women. Inclusive and less competitive environments can increase engagement with sport and PA. The provision of entry level and pathway opportunities to learn skills and grow confidence is important (physical, coaching, officiating, administration).

Topic focus

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