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EDITORIAL: Sport strategy could hit a winner

It’s a great time to be a woman in sport, or for those considering pursuit of physical activity in the Wimmera. 

Horsham Cricket Association has ‘pitched’ the idea of a women’s cricket competition during summer, while Volleyball Horsham is calling for registrations to return a women’s competition to its offering. 

Both codes cite the opportunity to offer women and girls a chance to play in a competition that meets their abilities, strengths and aspirations and supports them to learn and develop their skills without the presence of men and boys. 

It would also provide juniors with pathways into senior competition alongside their peers. It could also hold the key for clubs to maintain what, in some circumstances, is dwindling membership numbers. 

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Women and girls currently compete on the same court as men and boys at Volleyball Horsham – and while they’ve found great success, officials say the competition could also attract newcomers to the sport. 

It’s not a new initiative for volleyball, nor is female participation in cricket, but these are the initiatives that pave the way and set the tone and the example for youth. You can’t be what you can’t see. 

On that note, women’s football in the region is also gaining traction and ultimate success, with the news the Horsham Demons women’s side has secured a grand final berth in the Western Victoria Female Football League, staged in a fortnight. 

The Demons list includes many of the region’s netballers — who back-up their Saturday endeavours with footy on a Sunday. 

More experience and more exposure to traditionally male-dominated sports is good for the competition to build women’s capacity to match it with their male counterparts.

VicHealth data shows that women of all ages generally have lower physical activity participation rates than men. 

The data tells us that more than two-thirds of adult women were classified as being sedentary and having low levels of exercise; and participation rates decline as women get older — though teenaged girls do begin to disengage from sport and other physical activity, too. 

But, in good news, the VicHealth information also shows that four times as many women, or 44 percent, are choosing to participate in non-organised or more flexible physical activity offerings compared to organised physical activity, nine per cent, in Victoria. 

This is great encouragement for the 10-week Daughters of the West program, which began in the Wimmera this week — offering women of all ages a safe space for physical activity while also promoting general health and wellbeing. 

While the region is not short on variation of opportunity for sport and physical activity, there are many barriers to women’s participation. 

It’s initiatives such as netball teams introducing alternate uniforms for players this year — offering women an option of shorts instead of the traditional skirt or dress — that could produce significant change. 

Comfort and confidence can play a huge part in performance, culture and ultimately, participation. 

The entire July 13, 2022 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire July 13, 2022 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!