22 May 2017
Australian Sports Commission CEO Kate Palmer has challenged sports to help improve the development pathways and opportunities for female coaches, pointing out that they are “grossly under-represented” at the elite level.
Palmer said: “The ASC has been proud of its leadership in creating more opportunities and recognition for women in sport and, in particular, the ASC is pleased to have played a part in recent progress for female athletes, competitions and administrators.
“The ASC and sports must now address a glaring issue which is the low number, and a declining trend, of elite female coaches in high performance and at major sporting events like the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“Only nine per cent of accredited high performance coaches at the Rio 2016 Olympics were female, which fell from 12 per cent at the previous Games in London 2012. As a sporting system we need to look at ways to not only halt this worrying decline, but to greatly increase the representation of female coaches in our elite sporting ranks.
“AIS statistics show 93 per cent of elite coaches in the Australian system progressed from a background as an athlete, so we know that is a key pathway for coaches.
“But female athletes only account for three per cent of that conversion figure and we need to know why,” Palmer said.
The ASC recently held a Female High Performance Coach Forum where coaches from different sports, stages of development and the pathway discussed the complexities of the current situation.
Palmer said Australian sports have shown a readiness for gender diversity and was confident there could be a positive impact.
“We need to make sure the disproportionate number of female coaches does not hold back the maturity and growth of Australia’s high performance system,” Palmer said.