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Indigeneous Women and Sport: Evidence from a Senate Inquiry


Maxwell, H and Stronach, MM and Adair, D and Pearce, S, Indigeneous Women and Sport: Evidence from a Senate Inquiry, 21st SMAANZ Conference, 25-27 November, 2015, Hobart, Tasmania (2015) [Conference Extract]

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Demographic data shows that Indigenous women are significantly underrepresented in the Australian sporting landscape (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012) and actually invisible in many sporting contexts. In addition, a review of the sport and physical activity literature indicates that researchers have paid little attention to the sporting experiences of these Indigenous females (Stronach, Maxwell, Pearce & Taylor, 2015) despite links being made between physical activity, health, wellbeing and social inclusion. The current research contributes to filling this gap by considering how sport and physical activity providers work to ensure gender and cultural equity in their delivery of participation opportunities, in particular we consider the mechanisms use by individuals and organisations to cater for the needs, desire and wants of Indigenous women. The study adds to this emergent body of literature by considering how official sport providers aim to include Indigenous women in their programs. The research involves a content analysis of the 58 texts presented as formal evidence to the 2012/2013 House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Inquiry (The Inquiry). The evidence highlights examples of programs and activities which specifically focused on Indigenous participation in sport. However little specific statistical information was provided about Indigenous women’s participation and the nature of their involvement. The analysis of the submissions is undertaken using a social inclusion lens (Bailey, 2008) which identifies a number of practices used by sport organisations to facilitate Indigenous participation: culturally appropriate activities, Indigenous self-management and empowerment, the employment of Indigenous women athletes as leaders, adaptations to standard sport delivery models, safe and stable sporting environments, and programs linked to healthy lifestyles. The analysis also highlights notable weaknesses in the submissions which included few evaluations of specific strategies adopted by sport organisations to engage Indigenous women and girls. Nevertheless the Inquiry did identify a number of innovative and creative strategies that a small number of sport providers are starting to deploy which appear to have potential to increase opportunities and improve the visibility of Indigenous Australian sportswomen.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:Indigenous, Women, Sport, Senate Inquiry
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Social change
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Sport, exercise and recreation
Objective Field:Organised sports
UTAS Author:Maxwell, H (Dr Hazel Maxwell)
UTAS Author:Stronach, MM (Dr Megan Stronach)
ID Code:105034
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2015-12-03
Last Modified:2015-12-04
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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