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Australia’s major sports renew commitment to prevent violence against women

Australia’s major sports renew commitment to prevent violence against women
November 9, 2020

The AFL, Rugby Australia, NRL, Netball Australia, and Football Federation Australia (FFA) have today renewed their commitment to preventing violence against women, signing a leadership statement pledging to use their collective influence to progress gender equality.

Renewing their partnership with Our Watch to prevent violence against women, the five national sporting organisations (NSOs), have signed a leadership statement pledging to use their influence to progress gender equality, diversity and inclusion in their workplaces.

Advising that the recovery efforts of Australian sports following COVID-19 must prioritise women’s sport and the creation of leadership opportunities for women in sport, Our Watch Chief Executive, Patty Kinnersly stated “sports leaders set the tone, which is why it is so important they continue to take a zero-tolerance approach to disrespect and violence against women.

“I applaud the AFL, NRL, Rugby Australia, FFA, and Netball Australia for taking this important step today.

“Only together will we be able to turn the dial towards achieving gender equality so we can work towards an Australia that is free from violence against women and their children,” she said.

The commitment renewal comes after the first joint leadership statement and partnership that was formed in 2016, before the FFA joined later in 2018.

Netball Australia Chief Executive, Marne Fechner, said sport has a “tremendous opportunity” to use its influence to create positive social change, explaining “Netball Australia has had a long-standing vision of empowering women and girls to shine, while enriching and connecting communities and, as the number one participation sport for women and girls in Australia, we have an enormous opportunity to harness the sport’s reach to further educate and change attitudes around violence.

“Netball is committed to working alongside Our Watch to ensure that women and girls around Australia know they should expect respect, and that violence against women is not okay in any circumstance,” she said.

Adding that the AFL remained focused on continuously improving its capacity to create inclusive, healthy, and safe environments for everyone - players, coaches, umpires, officials, volunteers, and fans - AFL Chief Executive, Gillon McLachlan noted “everyone is welcome in our game and we will continue to work towards ensuring everyone feels included and safe at all levels of Australian Football

“We know the power of sport in driving change and the AFL is proud to partner with Our Watch in promoting attitudes and instilling behaviours that are respectful to and supportive of women.”

To assist the NSOs promote gender equality within their organisation, Our Watch has launched a new website, Equality and Respect in Sport.

For more information go to

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