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Richmond Tigers launch research backing women in sport leadership roles

Richmond Tigers launch research backing women in sport leadership roles
April 21, 2014

The Richmond Football Club, in conjunction with the Australian Sports Commission and the AFL, have commissioned a research project that will look specifically at how the game can become better at inviting women into the industry and at levels that can help drive genuine change in female engagement across the board.

The three-year longitudinal study ‘Women into Leadership in Elite Sport Report’, which is being conducted by Dr Pippa Grange and Paul Oliver of Bluestone Edge, has been in development for the past 12 months and has an ultimate goal of getting more women into leadership positions in the AFL industry.

Last October, Richmond became the first club in AFL/VFL history to appoint a female President after Peggy O’Neal, a longstanding member of the Club board, was voted into the role.

Commenting on the project, Club Chief Executive Brendon Gale stated “Richmond Football Club wants to lead a change in the way women are engaged and involved at all levels of the Club, from the boardroom through to administration and our members and supporters.

“We’ve seen some change but it is taking too long, it’s not good enough and we want to do something to change it.

“So we developed a research concept that we felt could provide valuable insights and pitched it to the Australian Sports Commission and the AFL and both were very supportive of what we wanted to achieve as a result of this.

“Simply, we want to know what the barriers are – real and perceived – to getting women engaged at the top end. We then want to test practical strategies that will start to drive change across the Club and ultimately the competition.”

Gale said that eventually the outcomes would drive a deeper level of engagement at grass roots level and better business outcomes, adding “diverse thinking is critical and the opinions of women are fundamental to making good business decisions and we think the game needs more of that happening at the highest levels.

“It is about a compelling business case, not an operational requirement. We want to drive female engagement that is of genuine substance and to do that we need to be bolder in our efforts.”

The scope of the research project will include:

• Testing and understanding gaps in the existing research through a desktop review.

• Gathering information on the topics through interviews with a broad ranging, informed audience.

• Documenting possible responses and design strategies to address the gaps.

• Implementing robust interventions to create change at the Club.

• Undertaking a longitudinal study on the impact of such interventions, taking in to account changes in attitudes, behaviours and perceptions.

• Use innovative, quantitative primary data collection techniques on female representation in membership, the database and in leadership roles and throughout the Club.

• Measure brand perceptions from existing and potential partners and corporations.

• Identifying other key performance indicators that could and should be tracked during intervention, such as club brand and leadership narratives, industry and media discourse or symbolism relating to female engagement in the club.

Related Articles

8th April 2014 - GWS Giants back Western Sydney’s first women’s AFL team

21st August 2013 - AWRA call for Government backing to promote more female leaders in sport

22nd March 2013 - More to AFL supporters than footy

3rd May 2010 - Tasmania Rejects Extra Funding for AFL ‘Home’ Games


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