Encouraging women to keep active

Women of all ages and backgrounds filled The Cube Wodonga on Thursday, May 30 for an event focusing on the importance of keeping women active.

This Girl Can Victoria, a luncheon and yoga class, was a partnership between VicHealth and Richmond Football Club featuring guest speakers including basketball star Lauren Jackson and sport commentator Tiffany Cherry.

Other speakers included South Sudanese refugee and Richmond VFLW player Akec Makur Chuot, This Girl Can deaf participant Kate Parremore, Border counselling and wellness coach Candice Marzano and Nida Shafat, a This Girl Can Victoria ambassador.

Wodonga Council’s Sport and Recreation Manager Liona Edwards attended and spoke about the role local government plays in promoting and encouraging increased female participation in organised sports, recreation, leisure and physical activity.

“The council is doing a number of things to keep women in sport,” she said.

“At a local level, council is encouraging our sport and recreation clubs to be inclusive and ensure they are providing female friendly environments.”

Ms Edwards said council assists clubs in securing and co-contributing to state and federal funding programs to upgrade and improve more gender equitable facilities across the city.

“Improved female amenities is another way in which we are invested into improving facilities in Wodonga,” she said.

“Increased access to courts, fields and grounds is another. We’re working with sporting clubs and organisations to better understand some of those barriers and fears and look at ways they can help their clubs to be more inclusive and provide female friendly environments to players, parents, volunteers and spectators.

“We contributed funding to the new netball clubrooms and umpire facilities at Birallee Park and redeveloped the Wodonga Athletics change rooms and facilities to make them female friendly.”

The council also recently secured funding for an upgrade to the Willow Park pavilion, and the construction of a new sporting pavilion at Emerald Oval that will provide appropriate facilities to accommodate greater female participation in both football and cricket.

Another way council encourages recreation and leisure activities for individuals and families is improving and increasing shared pathways.

Improving linkages between central Wodonga’s CBD and the newer residential areas allows women and families the opportunity to incorporate physical activity into active travel to work, school or on weekends.

More than 200 solar lights have been installed over the past three years to make shared pathways safer and more accessible.

A variety of free outdoor fitness equipment stations have also been installed and are connected to pathways and co-located with nearby playground, toilets and amenities.

All of these projects will provide a greater level of service to all female participants, spectators and community members who are involved with activities conducted across Wodonga’s recreation facilities.