Female Facilities Program - funding to develop female facilities

All current approved projects under the Female Facilities Program can review the information for approved applicants for details on acknowledgement and reporting requirements for your project.

Watch this case study video to see how a Queensland sporting organisation has successfully integrated female facilities into their club, with support from Sport and Recreation Services.

Duration 00:04:07

(Male voice): My name is John Burrell, President Centrals Trinity Beach AFL club. We have been mainly a male-based club since 1958 until the early 2000s.

(Female voice): With the inception of women’s football in 2003 – that started out small and became as huge as it is now.

(Female voice): It’s a really positive atmosphere.

The one thing about Centrals is that it always had a strong sense of community.

(Male voice): We found by surveying our ladies that they wanted their own home space and they wanted to feel comfortable in the change room.

(Male voice): A change room in itself, what does that mean? Nothing really. But it’s everything that comes with that. It’s about people having their own space. It’s about accommodating another group that weren’t accommodated at the club.

(Female voice): You know thinking that they might have been getting changed next to blokes or someone could walk in on them when they are getting changed. It probably pushed a lot of girls away from football.

(Male voice): So we thought that was really important in terms of getting extra woman involved in football, hence the application for the grant.

(Male voice): My name is Alexi Sachlikidis, I’m an Advisor for Sport and Recreation Services. So, we manage a variety of different grant programs, infrastructure being one of them.

(Male voice): The support we got from Alexi was, I thought, outstanding.

Sometimes there is just a critical piece of infrastructure missing that could actually be a real catalyst for change there and for growth there or to accommodate that local community better.

You’re not going to be successful with any of this unless you work with the people.

Get a group together so that it doesn’t all fall to the one or two people. We come in either right at the start to throw the seeds of thought around. Or let them mound something and then come in and help fine tune it all. Support it in whatever way is needed.

We are more facilitating them achieving the goals that they are setting for themselves.

(Male voice): One of the reasons why you are going to be successful with any application is a demonstrated need.

It’s one thing to put it on the paper that we need this, and we need that. Sometimes it’s actually a little bit tricky to find evidence to support that.

Quantify that need, is it through surveys, is it through just conversations, you know maybe there’s another sport that wants to come to your site and participate and they just need one piece of infrastructure to make that happen.

(Female voice): Down in Victoria, every football club has a netball club attached to it. But with netball we train offsite, so obviously if we are to get courts here, we need somewhere to shower, we need somewhere to change.

So the change room facilities being here is a tick in the box already for one of our wish list items.

(Female voice): I think it empowers them, that they have a place to be and go and to celebrate their wins and be proud of the moments that they’ve played women’s football.

(Female voice): Having somewhere that we can feel safe, somewhere that we can put our valuables. It’s definitely made a difference and has probably brought more girls to the club.

(Male voice): We’ve seen tremendous growth from our own perspective in young girls participating in AFL.

In 2012 I believe we had about 20 young ladies playing football. I can tell you now that as of this year we have got 50 registered youth girls and 35 registered senior women in our football club, and I strongly believe that that wouldn’t have happened without this facility.

(Female voice): It’s been quite remarkable actually; it’s been a big mission for the club to get it happening and a lot of hard work.

The boys have been very very supportive, which was good and helping us out where we need it.

Bringing more women and the younger girls through has been sensational, I suppose, because they start young and then they keep going up in to the women’s age group.

(Male voice): Probably the female facility program at the moment is about bringing the base level of women’s facilities up to where the men’s facilities are, but in the future it’s more about thinking inclusively about building spaces that all user groups can use.

(Male voice): I’m exceptionally proud of the people in this place.

(Female voice): Get out there if you don’t know how to do a grant. Find someone that helps you to do it.

(Male voice): We don’t want a woman’s section and a junior section and a senior section. We actually want one club, working together and growing together.

Helpful resources

The following are some resources that can help assist in planning and developing female friendly facilities.

Why should clubs increase female participation in sport?

Learn the benefits of increasing female participation for your sport.

Duration 00:05:33


You're here because you've realised the importance of involving more women and girls in sport and recreation.

Through these videos we'll explore how you can create environments that genuinely encourage and welcome women and girls into your club.

Together, we'll explore some simple and practical steps that you can take to help welcome women and girls into all areas of operations, as players, as coaches, as officials, as committee members and as leaders in sport.

Research by the World Health Organisation, Centres for Disease Control and the Australian Bureau of Statistics has shown that for women and girls regular participation in physical activity can prevent illnesses like diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity and some cancers.

It can improve psychological health and lead to lower levels of stress anxiety and depression.

Sport can increase self-esteem and confidence in women and girls.

It may contribute to a sense of inclusion, identity and pride.

And it can even improve academic performance and aspirations.

And what about what's in it for clubs?

Well, involving women and girls in clubs is important.

As committee members, most of you will already know that Mum is often the key decision-maker when it comes time to choose a sport for the children.

So, if your club is welcoming for women and girls, it can make your member recruitment strategies more successful.

Having more females involved in a club can broaden your networks and connections and break down discrimination.

By promoting your club to both males and females, doesn't that immediately double your target market?

And more members means more ways to increase income.

Remember that women can contribute to good governance, leadership, and decision-making.

To make the most of these benefits, it's important to involve as many women and girls as possible in sport.

But participation rates among women and girls could still be improved.

In Queensland, the rate of participation in sport and active recreation is 4.8% lower for women aged 15 years and over, when compared with men.

And the difference is even greater between girls and boys aged 14 years and younger, where the gap is closer to 14%.

So, two out of three boys, but only one in every two girls, participate in sport.

So what's behind these differences?

And what can you, as leaders of your club do to break down barriers to female participation?

Well the strategic decision-makers in your club, that is the committee, can come up with workable solutions and then get buy-in from committee members, coaches, officials, parents and players to support your efforts to provide opportunities for women and girls to become players and leaders in sport.

There are three main areas where you can make a change.

Facilities, culture and environment.

Let's start by assessing your facilities to see how accommodating they are for women and girls.

For example, do you have baby change and breastfeeding areas?

Is there a microwave and a fridge for baby bottles?

What about a space for child-minding?

And for the on-field, do you have female change rooms?

Your club's culture can usually be best tested by how it feels for women and girls when they come along to be involved.

Culture includes things like; the attitudes of your committee members, coaches and officials towards female participation.

Are there women in governance and management?

Are there flexible options for training and games such as casual passes and social games, rather than only having weekly time commitments?

And do you have child-minding options?

Do girls like wearing your club's uniforms?

Do you provide for women and girls from a range of multicultural backgrounds and abilities?

Who can act as role models or mentors for new members?

Your club's environment includes things like; offering good equipment.

Do you have timetables that provide equitable access to your best spaces to both males and females?

Have you included female and male memorabilia in the clubhouse, which equitably represents both genders?

Are your social activities appropriate for males and females?

Is the club safe, including lighting to amenities and car parks?

Do you provide development opportunities for female coaches and officials?

Do you promote public transport options near the club?

And is child safety paramount?

Female participation in sport is good for business and good for committees.

It's about respect and working together.

It's about creating positive change from the top down, from the committee, coaches, officials, parents and players.

The first step is to engage the leaders in your club to communicate consistent messages about all of the benefits we've just discussed.

Share information and things like these videos with as many people as possible so that you can change culture if necessary and create an environment where everybody works together to provide female-friendly facilities.

Next time, we're going to meet Stacey.

And follow her journey as a girl in sport.

You will be able to apply what you learn from Stacey and her experiences in coming up with great ideas for your own female participation plan.

So that we are all able to encourage women and girls to start playing and to stay playing.

Female participation in sport from preschool to high school

Learn through Stacey’s sporting journey from preschool to high school.

Duration 00:05:33

So you're keen to continue along the journey of becoming a great place for women and girls to play and lead sport.

That's great!

Now, how do we go about making that happen?

There are different approaches that work best when it comes to encouraging participation among women and girls when they're at different ages or at different stages in their lives.

And there are different barriers.

To help you understand how you can identify the best ways to encourage women to start playing and to stay playing, meet Stacey.

Here is Stacey as a high school-aged girl.

She loves her sport, which has helped her to make friends, stay healthy, and do well at school.

So how did Stacey start playing sport?

Like most children, Stacey's first exposure to sport was at home with her family.

This time has planted the seed for Stacey that grew into a real passion for being physically active.

As clubs, we have an opportunity to capitalise on Stacey's early love of sport.

We can start by understanding the drivers for her participation and how to leverage those drivers.

Firstly, remember that everyone plays sport for their reasons, not yours.

So make sure it's fun for girls to play and encourage positive support from parents.

Parental support can include transport and always using positive language.

And encourage parents to play with their children and keep it simple at the start--young children aren't playing for a world championship!

Well, not yet.

So it serves the purpose not to make things overly complicated.

Remember, it's all about loving sport at this age.

Stacey's first club put these ideas into practice.

To promote their club, volunteers ran some displays at Stacey's school, where Stacey saw an opportunity to take the fun and excitement she had when playing with her family to playing in a club team.

The promotion Stacey saw was encouraging for her because it included imagery of other girls playing and also showed women as leaders in sport: as coaches and officials.

And the club backed this up by having regular social media posts that encouraged female participation.

First experiences last.

When Stacey went to the club for the first time, as is the case for lots of young newcomers, she was nervous.

Maybe she lacked confidence and wasn't sure how things would go.

This was a critical point for Stacey.

How the club responded to this first time, could've made the difference between Stacey becoming a participant for life or going home forever.

To create great first experiences, volunteers and staff must be alert and welcome the first-timers.

Be available to engage with new players and their parents to make them feel welcome and comfortable.

You can establish first experiences outside the hustle and bustle of a home game day too.

Consider trial or holiday programs where girls like Stacey can give it a go and build confidence.

Running bring-a-friend campaigns encourages friends to start playing together.

Both friends can then feel confident and are introduced to other children together and can, therefore, expand their friendship group.

As Stacey grew, she had a great coach who focused on fun, encouragement, new concepts, positive feedback, and fair play, rather than just the competition.

This helped Stacey to build confidence.

Female coaches play an important role in both providing empathetic guidance and positive role-modelling.

Increasing female teams in your club can increase opportunity for female coaches.

Girls often look up to their coaches.

To make sure that you're providing accreditation and education opportunity, so that the coaches build their confidence to support girls in their teams.

And as girls in your club build their own confidence and on-field performances, you can celebrate their behaviour as role-models for younger girls.

You can give your female officials and coaches some incentives to continue coaching female teams or officiating in your sport.

Promote friendships and the social side of sport and the positivity of a team environment.

So, after eight years involved in her club, Stacey has great friends, good health, and she's doing well at school.

With her teammates, Stacey enjoys a real sense of achievement.

Now, it's time for Stacey's club to figure out how to keep her involved.

If you've been on a committee for a while, you'll know that it can be challenging to retain girls in sport from about 14 years old.

But keep in mind that the better sporting experiences you provide to girls when they're young, the easier it will be for them to stay playing.

Here are few extra recommendations: Keep your facilities female-friendly.

This can include having change-rooms for girls teams and keeping the place tidy.

Celebrate cultural wins as well as those on the field.

This could include the selection of female coaches to rep teams or a new female president for the club.

Get involved when your state or national bodies organise for female sporting stars to visit local schools and clubs.

And invite females who coach senior sides to conduct a couple of coaching sessions with the juniors, so that the younger players can see a player's pathway.

Opportunities for engaging with women and girls in sport change as they grow.

So, next time, we'll stay in touch with Stacey and learn how she was able to stay actively engaged when she became a Mum.

Female participation in sport through parenting and family years

Learn from Stacey’s sporting journey through parenting and family years.

Duration 00:06:47

It is the facilities, culture, and environment of clubs that can get women and girls into sport and keep them playing for the long term.

If clubs get it right.

In this chapter, we're going to follow Stacey's story--now she's a young mum--as she tries to get back into sport after some time away.

You can use what you learned from Stacey story to identify things that you can do to encourage women and girls to start playing and to stay playing.

Firstly, what are the reasons young women may want to play sport?

These can include fitness and muscle tone; some use sport to feel connected and part of a community.

Sport is a great way to make friends and have some social contact.

Some women turn to sport to assist with forms of depression or anxiety.

Stacey always loved playing sport as a girl and as a teen.

As is often the case, though, after finishing school, Stacey had some time away from sport.

But now that she has become a Mum, she's keen to get active again and improve her fitness and get back into shape.

What can clubs do to make it easy for women like Stacey to connect with them?

Firstly, clubs need to have suitable programs to accommodate female participation.

Programs need to be flexible, maybe with a focus on participation rather than competition.

Perhaps you can use modified fields or rules.

Consider less structured social opportunities or casual membership options.

Some women like to train to keep up their fitness but would prefer not to compete on the weekend.

As cost can be a prohibiting fact for some women, programs should be affordable.

Sports programs for women can be run sustainably so they shouldn't be a financial burden on clubs.

And consider the best time of day for stay-at-home Mums, remembering that they're often juggling school pick-ups with work and dinner time.

And how can clubs connect with women?

Keep your website and social media presence up-to-date and relevant for female participation.

Where you promote women's opportunities, focus on them being friendly, fun, and for social enjoyment, not just for competition.

Preferably, your imagery should include women and girls of all ages and cultures.

Network with local workplaces and schools to see if teams can be formed.

Take part in local government initiatives.

For example, you may be able to offer activities for Mums as part of a broader council program.

Let's now explore a couple of experiences that clubs can avoid.

Imagine that when Stacey was looking for a club to join, she visited one with no female facilities at all.

At this club, there may be no women's toilets or change rooms.

If there were women's games, they might have been scheduled in the leftover time, like early afternoon or later at night, times that just don't work around family meal times.

This would not be a welcoming facility or environment.

And imagine an end-of-year function where the senior men's team didn't socialise with the women's team.

The event would really feel divided, like it had an old-fashioned culture of segregation.

Worst of all, if one of the senior woman players had brought a friend along who is keen to join the club next year, if she didn't feel welcome, there's a good chance that she would not come back.

Supportive environments can be created by ensuring volunteers, committee members, coaches, and officials are friendly and welcoming for new people.

Spaces for Mums should be comfortable.

They could include breastfeeding areas, good lighting, and access to a microwave and a fridge.

Coaches and referees need good facilities too.

They should be clean, accessible, and secure, to incentivise women to take on these leadership roles.

This also shows that your club has proactively invested.

What else could you offer?

Professional development opportunities and accredited training for female coaches and officials.

Some form of childcare for Mums.

Maybe reduce participation fees for Mums that play and volunteer.

Can Dads help out sometimes with dinners at the club such as family barbecues on training and game nights?

Female participation could become a family affair.

And can you create opportunities for children, Mums, and Dads to participate at the same time.

No childcare needed.

Avoid stereotyping potential new members.

Imagine a scenario where a new family arrives at a club.

If the current volunteers assume that it's the children that are going to join as players and Dad might coach while Mum goes and works in the canteen, do you think the family will feel welcomed if it's actually Mum who's come along to play and take on a coaching role?

As a committee, you can develop and implement policies that truly support female participation in sport.

But remember, it's not the words on the page in the policy that make a difference for your members, but how you put them into practice.

Consider writing a gender equity policy that spells out your commitment to providing equitable access to facilities and programs for males and females.

Appoint mentors for new members.

Educate your members about anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws.

When you're planning for the future, create inclusive mission statements and team visions that connect people together.

And lead by example.

Your club's committee and leaders must be on board and openly support inclusive behaviour and live it.

Because Stacey's experiences were positive, her club gave her every opportunity to stay involved as a player and encouraged Stacey's daughter to play as well.

So set aside time every six months at a committee meeting to review and evaluate your successes and areas where you could do more next time.

Remember that data is extremely powerful.

You should keep good statistics on gender breakdown of coaches, officials, players and committee members.

Then use your data as a reminder of the benefits of increasing female participation to help with grant applications and to ensure that you're on track to achieving your club's long-term goals.

Involving women and girls in sport is great.

It's great for participants and for you as clubs.

By adopting some of the tips that we've discussed in these videos, you can create positive change.

So involve your committee, coaches, officials, players, and parents to explore how can you best enjoy all of the benefits we've discussed.

Document your ideas in a Female Participation Plan.

Then involve the leaders in your club to put your projects into action.

So, congratulations on creating a female-friendly culture, environment, and facilities.

And enjoy the journey.


For further information contact your nearest Sport and Recreation regional office on 13 74 68 (13 QGOV).