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SportWest IWD #EmbraceEquity in Sport Forum

On Wednesday, 5th April, SportWest hosted over 180 Industry professionals at the IWD #EmbraceEquity in Sport Forum.

Attendees had the opportunity to hear from keynote speaker Diane Smith-Gander AO and be part of an interactive panel discussion, with Veronica Holmes, Partner at Deloitte and David Etherton, CEO at VenuesWest. A special mention goes to our Panel Facilitator, Christina Matthews, CEO of WA Cricket, thank you!

We thank everyone for taking the time out of your day to be part of such a crucial conversation. The WA Sports sector is doing a lot of things right, but we still have a long way to go. There were so many great insights that came from the discussion, too many to capture in a summary email, but to keep the conversation going, below are a few key points that resonated with our team:

  • The difference between Equality and Equity. Equality ensures every individual receives the same, where equity is where people receive what is required for that individual to succeed equally. (Equality = everyone gets two boxes; Equity – people get the number of boxes they need to be equal).
  • Edith Cowan was the first women to be elected to an Australian Parliament in 1921. Western Australia used to be a leader in in gender equity, unfortunately as a state we can no longer say that. It is time to think and act differently if we are to change this.
  • Encourage and challenge everyone to have “meaningful conversations” on how we #EmbraceEquity in the industry.
  • The power of ‘rumbling’ with your team, a practice leaders can encourage to embrace open and honest conversations.
  • We need to change the language around ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ carers.
  • For parents, don’t be afraid to have a conversation with your children about the role work plays in your life.
  • Targeted flexibility leads to loyalty and longevity.


The audience at the event was 84% women and 16% men. For an industry that employees 46% men, this was not representative. If we are serious about making a change, people of all genders need to engage in the discussion. For those that attended we challenge you to talk to your male colleagues and leaders about what you heard, what changes you think can be made in your organisations and the importance of all genders being part of the discussion.

Sport has a real opportunity to be the leading force in creating gender equity in Western Australia. It’s important that we continue to #EmbraceEquity. Our participation base is shifting, and if we don’t change and provide equity we need to question whether we are demonstrating leadership in creating a long term, sustainable and vibrant ecosystem for future generations.

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