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Grant program helps elevate women leaders in sport

21 August 2023

Future female sport leaders can apply for a share of $370,000 in grants to help them progress their careers thanks to an Australian Sports Commission (ASC) program.

A girl slides down a rail on a skateboard in front of a large crowd
The Women Leaders in Sport program has supported more than 27,000 women and 800 organisations, including Skate Australia. Photo: World Skate

Applications are now open for the Women Leaders in Sport (WLIS) initiative which has provided leadership opportunities for more than 21 years.

Minister for Sport Anika Wells said the program was key in the pursuit of gender equality in sport.

“Our sporting systems are not equal and need more women making decisions,” Minister Wells said.

“The facts are clear, while our female athletes are enjoying unprecedented success there are significant gender gaps in on and off-field leadership.

“This program is driving real change as we strive to have equal representation in all areas of sport.”

“Two-time Olympian Sarah Cook, who was recently named as the CEO of Rowing Australia, is a great example of what’s possible for WLIS grant recipients.

“After a career as an athlete and a coach before moving into sports administration, Sarah pursued further study in finance at Melbourne Business School thanks to a WLIS grant.

“This program is creating opportunities for the next generation that may not have been possible before.”

ASC CEO Kieren Perkins OAM said the program continues to empower and support women who work across all roles in sport.

“I am extremely proud of this program which has supported more than 27,000 women from community volunteers through to senior executives and boards.”

“I would like to thank the Australian Government for supporting such a powerful initiative that is helping shape the future of Australian sport.”

WLIS is managed by the ASC with support from the Office for Women and funded through the Australian Government’s Women’s Leadership and Development Program.

Sporting organisations can also apply for grants of up to $15,000 for projects that create more leadership pathways for women and more diverse and inclusive workplaces.

More than 800 organisations have benefitted from WLIS organisation grants to date including Skate Australia, which received a grant for its Rolling Free program in 2022.

Skate Australia CEO Dr Caitlin Honey said the funding helped Skate Australia to develop gender equity and inclusion practices and undertake a research project that identified the gaps, successes and challenges facing the community.

“Understanding the issues within our community has helped the research group develop a policy and associated actions that are relevant to our sport so we can make meaningful change in the community,” Dr Honey said.

Applications are now open and close on Sunday 17 September.

For more information or to apply visit Women Leaders in Sport under the ASC Grants and Funding page.

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