International Women’s Day is fast approaching and it gives us an opportunity to reflect on how we’re embracing equity.
Our aim is to provide the same opportunity for men and women in our sport whether you’re a coach, volunteer, a player or spectator.
We have so many women involved in different capacities in our game but we, as a game and as a community, need to empower them to strive for high-level positions in our game.
When I first started in the business, we didn’t have any.
There’s still a bit to work on from a community level to make sure better representation of women is being reflected right across our game.
Our number of female coaches is increasing every year and it’s about empowering them through our pathways and if we have female coaches in our game who want to go to the next level, the opportunity is there and in some cases, especially in regional footy, they should be promoted.
If there’s a male and a female with the same credentials, I genuinely believe we should be promoting women as a priority if we’re serious about changing the status quo. We have to be walking the walk and talking the talk at the same time.
I think the dream for the QRL is wouldn’t it be awesome if we had one or two women in the near future for example as an assistant coach of a Hostplus Cup club and down the track a head coach.
It starts with one and once we have one we can show that females in our game can make an equally good difference on and off the field as our men do.
Equity in facilities available for men and women has also been one of the key aspects driving our recently launched QRL Infrastructure Strategy.
The QRL has been working with clubs and league across Queensland to identify projects to support as part of the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport's Minor Infrastructure Program and has prioritised projects that are focused on increasing the number of female friendly and inclusive changerooms across Queensland, along with lighting and field enhancements to increase safety for all participants.
It’s just the tip of the iceberg.
We’re now starting an expression of interest and evaluation process to set up templates to allow clubs to log what they want to do in terms of infrastructure, and it will build on the strategy we’ve already got in place.
From there we can drive sustainability, partnerships and sponsorships. It comes down to how we, as a governing body, can assists clubs to navigate the various levels of government to make change, and not leaving them to fend for themselves.
The QRL as a whole is focused on becoming more of a community organisation and we understand more than ever what our place is and how we can drive change in community and society.
We’re working harder on embracing them all, and it’s exciting we have an employee in Liberty Jones dedicated towards doing that on a daily basis, including how we mark important days on our calendar.
A shout out to the club representatives I’ve been working with as part of the infrastructure program. We don’t always agree on the direction, but there’s an understanding what the game is trying to do will actually have long term benefits and it may take a few years. We’re going to be gathering much more information and collaborating with government much earlier than we have in the past. It’s a professional way of doing something that has been so organic for too long.
March 8: International Women's Day
March 16: National Close the Gap Day recognises the need to address health, life expectancy and other inequalities that disproportionately affect First Nations Peoples. Through my background as an educator, I've seen children sent to school without shoes and food - things most of us take for granted - stemming from the blockers First Nations Peoples need to navigate. We need to listen to people from our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities about what we need to do as a society to close the gap.
Celebrating our team
Role: QRL Corporate Social Responsibility Committee member, Queensland Government Department of Seniors, Disabilities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships regional director
Hometown: Living in Ipswich as a Nughi man from the Quandamooka Nation
Favourite Maroons player: Wally Lewis
Favourite Maroons Origin moment: Matty Bowen intercept try
Why you love your job: I enjoy supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to thrive socially, culturally and economically.
What Dean brings to the team: Dean has been part of the QRL’s Indigenous Advisory Committee and Corporate and Social Responsibility Committee for many years. He has also been a coach and volunteer in club land during this time and prior to his commitments with the QRL. He is so knowledgeable about the game, government and First Nations culture, history and what our game needs to do to ensure First Nations people continue to be a massive part of its success.