A Women in Sport Collective
“I see swimming as a symptom, not the disease,” former CEO of Swimming Australia Leigh Russell told the Sydney Morning Herald over the weekend. Leigh’s comments came in the wake of some pretty damning posts on social media from Rio Olympian Maddie Groves alleging the exploitation, body shaming and gaslighting of young women and girls in the sport.
These kinds of stories are unfortunately all too common.
As athletes, coaches, administrators and fans from grassroots sports to the elite, women and girls are routinely discriminated against. Those covering sports are far from immune.
When you bring these various people together: athletes and sports journos and coaches and fans and administrators, you get a system. A system, as Moya Dodd so perfectly put it, that “began by excluding women from participating at all, then tolerated decades of unequal resourcing, and has now evolved into one where women can play sport (although not on an equal basis with men) but not manage or govern it.”
Kate Palmer, the former CEO of Sports Australia, called the elite sporting environment in Australia a “boys’ club”.
“For a long time we have focused on fixing the women, the idea that they need mentoring, courses, a program,” Kate Palmer told the Sydney Morning Herald. “At the end of the day, the system is broken.”
Yes, the system is broken. But it can be rebuilt. Rebuilt in a way that not only says it values diversity but actively pursues it. Rebuilt in a way that deliberately and diligently pushes back against the inherent biases that have excluded far too many for too long. Rebuilt in a way that opens doors and opportunities and resources, that prioritises fairness and respect. This is possible. We have the people and the resources we just need the will.
In this issue
This week Official Siren Collaborator Rachel Bach returns with a new instalment of her By The White Line Diaries. This edition shares the story of being a freelance sport photographer in a city in an endless lockdown loop. Wrestling expert Scarlett Harris dives into the WWE’s apparent misunderstanding of women’s friendships. Linda Pearce speaks with Australian sprinter Hana Basic ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, and Mary Konstantopoulos speaks with another Tokyo-bound Australian, BMX Freestyler Natalya Diehm.
By The White Line: Take Two
By Rachel Bach
Back from a short break, Siren Collaborator Rachel Bach, known as By The White Line, details her return to freelance work after repeated Melbourne lockdowns.
WWE Doesn’t Understand Women’s Friendships
By Scarlett Harris
Wrestling expert Scarlett Harris returns to Siren, focusing on the WWE’s lack of understanding of women’s friendships, and how that heavily impacts their wrestling storylines.
Newly dedicated: Hana Basic is Tokyo bound
By Linda Pearce
Green and gold with an undertow of blue and yellow. Sprinter Hana Basic will represent Australia, with her Bosnian heritage not too far from thought.
Natalya Diehm bringing Aussie BMX to Tokyo
By Mary Konstantopoulos
Natalya Diehm speaks to Siren Collaborator Mary Konstantopoulos about her BMX journey and being one of the first athletes to compete in the sport at an Olympics.
Congratulations to Mary Konstantopoulos/Ladies Who League on eight excellent years! Here’s to many more.
Brittany Carter looks at the rolling substitution in Super Netball, who is using the rule (introduced in 2020) the most and how it’s changing the game.
There’s a shiny new podcast on the block!
Some big WBBL News!
Multi-sport superstar Brooke Walker spoke to Mary Konstantopoulos about her return to rugby league.
For more football analysis (and plenty of laughs) make sure you’re subscribed to The Far Post podcast.
Australian Opal Tessa Lavey believes the culture of the Opals is what will set them apart in Tokyo.
We’ve been following Stotty’s cancer battle closely, and are blown away by her $36K raised as part of the World’s Greatest Shave!
The Matilda’s have been back in action recently, and Hayley Raso hit a milestone!