I am a lecturer and researcher in the sociology of sport at Victoria University. I am internationally recognised for my research on sport in contemporary Australian society. Through years of engagement with students I have developed a keen understanding of the experiences, the enormous positives, and some of the persistent negatives, that young women have in sporting contexts from the grass roots to the elite level.
I am a lecturer and researcher in physical education at Victoria University. Football has always been a part of my life. I started to play when I was eight years old on the streets in Brazil.
I am a lecturer and researcher in sport and social change at Victoria University and I am a lead researcher on the Change Makers: Football Vic project. I am a kiwi and, although I am not a not a footballer, in my youth I played, coached and managed many sports. I spent countless hours swimming, running and whacking balls. I loved sport and physical activity so much that I undertook a physical education degree at the University of Otago, and my love of sport then coincided with a love of learning and research.
Growing up in Florida in the US, I lived outside, most of the time on a football pitch, playing with girls or boys or both. Football even gave me the opportunity to attend university on an athletic scholarship while teaching me perseverance, hard work, and mental strength but also teamwork, empathy, and solidarity.
I am a student in the Integrated PhD program at the Institute for Health and Sport (IHES) at Victoria University. My research interest focusses on gender equity investments and gender equity business models in sport. I have an MBA from the University of Sydney Business School and a Bachelor of Applied Science from RMIT.
I recently finished my degree in Sports Management at Victoria University, I was born in England and moved to the regional city of Ballarat in 2009 and I am a Football Victoria Referee.
I am about to start my Masters of Research looking at how to make meaningful change towards gender equality in basketball. In 2019, I completed my undergraduate studies in Sport Science at Victoria University including an exchange semester at the German Sport University.
I have always been a keen sportsperson, trying out netball, swimming and dancing growing up and more recently moving into male dominated sporting spaces by playing Australian Rules Football and cricket. My sporting experiences led me to study sports.
Growing up in a regional area in Victoria, female sport opportunities were limited, and once we reached the age of around 13, most sports combined with male teams and resulted in huge dropout rates. Like most girls, I just told myself that I was not that interested in sport and moved on to other things.
Growing up I have always been interested in sport culture and have spent most of my degree in Sport Science and Sport Management trying to figure the bigger ‘hows’ and ‘whys’. I like asking questions and try to consciously think about and understand the way sport functions in Australia and the wider world (tough gig for my little brain, I know).
I am currently completing my Bachelors in Sport Science and Psychology, aiming to complete my Honour’s year in Psychology in 2021. As a child I loved sport and participated in almost everything, my passion was athletics, karate, swimming and rough contact sport, this fueled my passion for learning and choosing a double degree as I loved PE and Psychology during my years in VCE.
Growing up the social pressures to act ‘like a girl’ were overwhelming and I made the difficult decision to quit playing sport as a teenager, this is something that I now regret in my early adulthood and I hope to make an impact in my later years as a professional in the sports and psych industry to ensure that young girls don’t have to make the same decision between being bullied or foregoing their love for physical activity. Throughout my degree, I found a passion for volunteering and am now a Wellness Coordinator for a football club in Melbourne’s West, which I hope to continue for years to come. My love for learning has evolved throughout my senior years of high school and tertiary education, I always want to know as much as I can about anything that grabs my attention and I also love teaching others about the interesting things I’ve learnt. In my final year of my Bachelor’s Degree, I completed a unit about sociological thinking in the sporting world, something which engaged me beyond any other unit I had completed beforehand; as an avid activist for women’s rights, animal rights and human rights overall, sociology has grabbed my heart and soul completely. I aim to complete my Honour’s in Psychology next year, followed by a master’s in clinical psychology. In addition to this, I also want to work on research projects regarding Sport Science, Sociology and Social Change. Joining the Change Makers team has been such a learning curve already and I am very excited to watch this evolve into something truly transformative.
Growing up in a small town, surrounded by a sporting a family, I have always been involved in sport. This led me to pursue a Bachelor of Sport Science (Human Movement)/ Bachelor of Sports Management at Victoria University, of which I am in my second year of completing.
Having played a vast array of sports as a child, I ultimately choose the traditional path of netball and tennis, but have recently become equally involved with more male dominated sports, such as cricket.
Further, both my positive and negative experiences within the sporting world have shaped a desire to work towards gender equity within the sporting industry and to help others overcome some of the common barriers faced when navigating the many layers of sports participation.
Having recently been introduced to sociological thinking I am eager to expand my knowledge base and continue to grow within the sociological landscape and challenge expectations. Overall, I am so super excited to be involved with the Change Maker’s project (despite a lack of football experience!) and I can’t wait to contribute further to achieving Football Victoria’s amazing goal of 50/50!
I am in the final stages of my undergraduate degree in Sport Science (Human Movement) and Psychological Studies at Victoria University. I grew up in Canberra in a sports-enthused family, where I played multiple sports, but basketball quickly became my main focus. Moving forward, I am hoping to combine my passions for research and sport to help make a meaningful change in women’s sporting culture.
Although I do not have a direct background in football, I have had my fair share of challenges that arose from being a woman in a male-dominated sport.
My club was lucky if we were able to string together one girl’s team, whereas the boy’s counterpart would easily have five or six. Men’s teams were appointed high-up coaches, whilst we were left with parent volunteers- and this is just scratching the surface in a sport that does typically have a high female presence. The males in my family were also heavily invested in AFL, which I always dreamed of playing too but the female league in Canberra was non-existent at the time, so I stuck with basketball instead. This unfortunately solidified an understanding of the segregation between men and women’s sport from a young age. The progressive explosion of women’s AFL signifies that this separation is artificial, and we have the power to change any male-dominated sport with the right education, support, and resources.
Since moving to Melbourne for studies, my focus has shifted from playing sport, to educating myself on the theoretical, psychological, and sociological aspects of sporting culture. I am eager to take this knowledge and apply it to a momentous issue, alongside a team of passionate researchers and Change Makers. Football Victoria’s goal of 50/50 by 2027 is a change that I am confident will happen, and the opportunity to be a small part of this project is beyond exciting.
As a child I played several different sports, my main sport being (Australian rules) football. I grew up playing football alongside the boys until I was 14 years old, being the only girl on my team didn’t faze me at the time. I was just a kid kicking around a ball no different to my teammates and they never treated me any different. As I became older I became more aware that it wasn’t quite normal for a girl to be playing in a boy’s sport and I experienced the comments, reactions and opinions that came with it.
As I made the switch from playing with the boys to joining the newly developed girls league I became even more aware of all the different barriers girls face in the sporting world (like lack of equipment, access to facilities, funding etc.). These were not the kind of things I encountered when playing with the boys, yet this never stopped the girls from putting a team out on the field each weekend. While I don’t have much of a background in soccer the Change Makers project sounds very exciting to me and I am looking forward to being involved!
My affinity for sport and exercise started when I was young and was based around my involvement in individual sports. Growing up in rural North Queensland a lot of the sports in the area were individual as there were never enough kids to make a full team. Once hitting high school I had to travel to school and this opened my eyes to team sports and grew my love for exercise. I grew up playing tennis, touch rugby and competing in triathlons.
My first realisation of gender inequality in sport was on the touch rugby field, playing a mixed sport made me feel as though I had to really earn my spot to be able to “keep up” with the boys. This feeling was exhausting and when comparing it to my experience with the Womens AFL team it was completely different. I felt as though I completely belonged and was an equal member of the team. This was the first of many interactions with gender inequalities in sport and I am excited to help make a change to Victorian women’s football opportunities. This opportunity to contribute to this sociological research is so wonderful as gender equality is something I am personally passionate about. With recently engaging in the sociological units at Victoria University it has allowed me to analyse and understand the “why’s?” behind sport issues. I really look forward to working alongside this program and finding a solution to achieve 50/50 for Football Victoria.
After moving to Ballarat when I was 4, with British parents it was a bit of a no brainer that we were always destined to play football no matter whether we enjoyed it or not. Since the age of 5 I have played across various age groups, clubs and competitions in Ballarat Local & State Divisions and I have seen how female football can succeed when run efficiently.
In 2018, I took on a new role as Girls’ Program Manager at Glen Eira FC, after realising the Club wasn’t offering its girls anything close to the same opportunities as the boys in the Club. With 2 daughters and 2 sons who played for Glen Eira FC, and were having very different experiences, this wasn’t acceptable to me! Working alongside the inaugural Girls’ Technical Director, John Sugunananthan (a visionary coach and leader in girls and women’s football), we introduced a host of new programs (most of them free), established a leadership team, gathered sponsors, and created an elite pathway for girls in the Club, to match the elite boys’ pathway that had existed for nearly 10 years.
A year later our girls’ participation rate had increased by 40%, our social media was saturated with our new girls’ program, and we were off and away! Despite the enormous progress we have made, we still have a very long way to go in many areas before reaching the target of 50/50 – for example our Club’s Committee is severely lacking in its representation of girls and women.
Whilst I am a lawyer by background, I am passionate about advancing girls and women in football, and I was a lucky participant in FV’s inaugural Female Administrator Leadership Program in 2019. I was also grateful to receive a Change Our Game Scholarship from the Victorian Government, which will allow me to further my study in community sports management and leadership.
I have hopeful leadership aspirations for the future, and would especially like to see Club governance reformed and overhauled, to ensure equality in participation and experience in Clubs. I am thrilled that Australia is co-hosting the Women’s World Cup in 2023. What a time to be an Australian woman involved in the beautiful game! I doubt there will be a better opportunity to advance women and girls in football in Australia, and to reach the target of 50/50 participation. We have much to do on many fronts, but this is our time – oh the places we will go!