Thursday, 27 May 2010

What I had for breakfast this morning

Yes, there is a CSV AGM coming up. Yes I am standing again. Was the post below a "Vote for me" call? No. Frankly, although I have unfinished business on the CSV Board, I am not precious about whether or not I make it back on to the Board. It'd be kinda nice to have some of my life back, to be honest.

Yesterday morning I was fortunate enough to attend an International Women in Sport breakfast forum, which was a side event to an International Women in  Sport Conference held in Sydney last week. I had fruit salad, yoghurt, a cherry danish and heaps of coffee ( nasty 5 am start!) for breakfast by the way.

More than the breakfast, there were some interesting speakers with points to be made that connected and congealed with loose thoughts I've had over the last couple of months. Now I am processing, which will take some time, as there was much to process, new connections to be made with new possibilities to be realised.

Prof Kari Fasting (pres Women's Sport International) discussed growing women's numbers in sport; high level mandated support, the feminisation of masculine sports and sports culture. She didn't even venture into her research area of abuse and sexual harassment in sport.

Marjorie Snyder (Women's Sport Foundation USA) spoke of accessing non-governmental funds via philanthropy, meeting girls' needs ie going to where the girls are for effective program development and results, development of the Women's Sport Foundation over the last 20 years, from an idea that Billy Jean King had, to being recognised as the eminent women's not for profit sports organisation in the States. Lots of food for thought for women's competitive cycling.

Yolanda Jackson (Women's Sport Foundation USA). Yolanda and I had a bit of a chat over coffee beforehand. She is a dynamo! The Senior Director of Athlete Marketing and Promotion, her discussion was about media coverage, networking with female athletes to promote, speak, advertise, be role models, for themselves, for the Foundation, for sport, for women.  She also discussed the roles of Pro Leagues in the States. There are women's pro leagues in basketball (WNBA) rodeo, motorsports, boxing, soccer etc. Imagine if there were a national pro league for female cyclists in Australia. That's mindblowing.....

Karin Lofstrom (Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport). Karin talked about government funded models, women in leadership and governance, coaching and technical roles (high performance management), providing quality sporting experiences for women (does lingerie grid iron crack it?), having leaders that participants can relate to (and elite athletes are often not it), and the personal touch in approaching women to take on roles in sport.

It was interesting to think of women's equity issues in access to sport as human rights issues.A lot of what I heard, particularly in terms of engaging with inactive women, getting them into a sporting activity (and cheerleading is not a sport!) I've heard before. There is plenty of research out there in googleland that talks to this. What was more interesting to me was discussion around women in leadership roles, and what that can do for sport, and people involved with that sport. It is more powerful than we realise.

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