Squash Victoria has been given a $300,000 VicHealth state government grant over the next three years to help make the sport more attractive to women and girls.
One of 30 VicHealth State Sporting Association Participation Program grant recipients in Victoria, Squash Vic will implement state-wide initiatives designed to bring about sustainable organisational and cultural change to boost community participation in sports over the next three years.
Squash Vic executive director Fiona Young said the association would work closely with venues, clubs and the coaching and refereeing bodies to pilot participation programs to attract women and girls to squash and racquetball.
VicHealth Acting CEO Associate Professor John Fitzgerald said state sporting associations played an essential role in encouraging people to get active for general good health and chronic illness prevention.
“With obesity and Type 2 diabetes on the rise, it’s very concerning that two-thirds of Australians don’t get enough physical activity,” he said.
“That’s why state sporting associations do the community an invaluable service by promoting an active lifestyle, not to mention the mental health benefits their members get from fun and friendship.
“We are thrilled squash has taken the initiative to build on this great work by inviting more girls and women to get involved.
“Squash is leading by example with their commitment to become more inclusive of the whole community and committing to being a safe, accessible, inclusive and equitable place.”
Research shows women are less inclined to participate in sports than men. In fact, 24 per cent of women are involved in organised sport compared to 28 per cent of men. The rate of participation drops off steadily as women get older.
There is more work to be done to ensure all sporting codes actively recruit women in leadership and decision making positions, design multipurpose facilities that cater for women and most importantly, create an environment which is safe, accessible, inclusive and equitable.
We look forward to linking in with Squash Victoria to promote World Squash day on November 5, when the whole event will be designed to increase female participation.