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Strengthening diversity at the senior level

10 November 2022

The sport sector is another step closer to achieving gender equity at the senior level because of our Women Leaders in Sport (WLIS) program.

People chatting at the Athlete Accelerate event
Twenty-two former athletes recently graduated from the 2022 AIS Athlete Accelerate program.

The program is supported by the Australian Government’s Office for Women, with the ASC and the AIS together delivering several initiatives, which have achieved success from the boardroom to the sporting arena.

Over the past 12 months, the program has expanded its suite of offerings to help more than 500 women professionals, coaches and former athletes progress in their career.

Of the 75 women who provided feedback after completing the 2021 WLIS leadership workshop, 92% plan to progress into a more senior position, and 93% reported feeling more confident in their role.

Similar results were reported among the 70 women who received a 2022 WLIS individual grant. Some recipients confirmed it led to a promotion.

"Thanks to the support of WLIS, I have successfully completed a certificate in Microsoft Office. Along with this, I was recently selected to be on the Board of Directors for the International Boxing Association, where all the skills and knowledge gained from this course will be of help within the role,’’ said grant recipient Kristy Harris.

A further 16 coaches and 16 executives were recently appointed to 2 AIS Talent programs, which aim to address the under-representation of women in high performance coaching and executive roles.

Two-time Olympic hockey gold medallist Katrina Powell was part of the inaugural Talent Program in 2020 and 12 months later became the first woman head coach of the Hockeyroos in 43 years.

“Undertaking the AIS Talent program, along with a peer group of coaches from other sports that I’m still in touch with today, has helped me solidify my goals and then plan how I’d get there,” said Powell.

A further 22 former elite athletes undertook the 2022 AIS Accelerate program, a 6-month program that supports women athletes pursue leadership roles in the sport sector by helping them strengthen their leadership skills, develop career action plans and expand their networks.

The cohort included 13 Olympians, 2 Paralympians, 8 Commonwealth Games athletes and multiple world champions. On completion of the program, 45% of participants cited their job status had changed, and clarity on their career direction increased from 54% before the program to 85% afterwards.

This piece of work aligns with one of the ASC's key strategic pillars: 'A thriving organised sport sector' which is outlined in the 2021-22 Annual Report.

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