The Australian Women in Sport Advisory Group (AWiSAG) was established for two years (2019-2020) to guide a strategic and coordinated approach within and across sectors focused on gender equality for girls and women in sport in Australia. A vision, priorities with deliverables and aspirations were established to guide the Group.

The priorities and deliverables achieved by the Group stimulated communication and encouraged embracement across the sport, education and government sectors.

Purpose of the Group

Our vision is that there are no boundaries for women and girls in sport and physical activity. Industry alignment and collaboration was gained to lead the way to towards this vision and achieve the priorities of the Group.

No boundaries for women and girls in sport and physical activity.

1. Promote the diverse benefits of investing in women & girls

Examples of deliverables include:

  • create a systematic advocacy campaign designed to activate and engage decision-makers
  • develop a communication plan that clearly articulates the compelling rationale for change
  • launch and unite leaders and communities through #noboundaries.

Business case for investing in women in sport.

2. Introduce compulsory sport & physical activity into schools to drive physical literacy

Examples of deliverables include:

  • create an enhanced national program to embed sport and physical activity
  • embed a national sport physical literacy framework
  • develop and launch an advocacy strategy and campaign for physical activity.

Physically literate girls: The need for schools to develop girls who are physically literate

3. Mandate gender equality for sport & physical activity organisations that receive government investment

Examples of deliverables include:

  • produce a succinct definition for gender equality
  • agree the key measures that will be universally applied to measure gender equality in sport organisations
  • provide guidelines and a road map that support organisations to implement gender equality.

No boundaries for women and girls in sport and physical activity.

We will know there are no boundaries and we have been successful when:

  • Australia is a global leader in empowering women and girls through sport and physical activity
  • women and girls from all backgrounds have a life-long love and engagement in sport and physical activity
  • women and girls are inspired by, feel welcome in, and have equality of opportunity to participate, lead and work in all aspects of sport and physical activity
  • women and men play in similar competitions for equal prize money
  • infrastructure is in place for women and men to participate in the sport they choose
  • women who play and lead in sport are equally valued, recognised and celebrated
  • Australia is a desired destination for international investment in women participating in sport
  • quotas and industry standards are no longer needed for women in sport and physical activity.

Where to from here?

In 2021 the ‘baton’ was handed to the Women Leaders of Sport (WLoS) Group. Established in 2021, the founding members comprised the most senior women working in sport in Australia supported by Male Champions of Change. Founding members of this Group include those from the AWiSAG.

The WLOS focus is to amplify, advocate and support women working in sport across Australia.

Advisory Group Members

The Australian Women in Sport Advisory Group comprised members representing diverse organisations. Cross-sector insights were gained from some of Australia’s most successful sport and business leaders in the country.

Susan Alberti AC is a businesswomen, philanthropist, AFL women’s football pioneer and passionate about women in sport.

Susan co-founded and was managing director of a large building company, Chairperson of her own medical research foundation and Ambassador for the National Women’s Football League.

Susan was Director and then Vice-President of the Western Bulldogs Football Club 2004-2014, National President of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Australia for 23 years. She was also Director of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International for nine years.

Currently she is Patron of the Prime Ministers’ Sporting Oration.

Mark Anderson has been involved in leading a range of prominent sports. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Collingwood Football Club, was the Chief Executive Officer of Swimming Australia and prior to this time Chief Executive of Hockey Australia.

Mark was a Board Member of Commonwealth Games Australia for ten years and is recognised as a Male Champion for Change in Sport.

He has a passion for leading change and establishing cultures which underpin organisational success, particularly within high performance environments.

In each of the previous roles Mark has had responsibility for leading high performance women’s and men’s athletes and has grown participation for girls and boys at a community sport and pathways level.

Prior to his roles in sport, Mark worked in Executive Marketing and Business Development roles.

Julie Bissinella is Program Director for Male Champions of Change (MCC) Sport and Fire and Emergency and is also Communications Director for MCC.

She has been involved in the MCC strategy since its inception and developed the model which supported its expansion. It has grown from the Founding Group to an expanding coalition of the more than 200 men and women CEOs committed to achieving gender equality and advancing more women into leadership positions.

Other roles include Executive Director, Communication and Brand for Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Head of Corporate Responsibility/Sustainability at ANZ, where she also led the bank's diversity and inclusion agenda.

Julie is a Fellow of the Williamson Community Leadership Program and was member of The Australian Government's National People with Disability and Carers Council.

Professor Clare Hanlon is Victoria University’s Susan Alberti Women in Sport Chair and has spent more than two decades championing women in sport.

Clare is dedicated to breaking down barriers and increasing opportunities for women and girls to participate and lead in sport and physical activity. She does this by conducting industry-based research and translating insights into application.

Clare has co-led national and state policies related to women in sport, created a high-level national women in sport strategy and advised state and territory governments on infrastructure, systems and programs to build the capacity of communities and organisations to encourage women in sport.

Clare is also the Director of Gymnastics Australia and of the Oceanic Gymnastic Union, and a member on the VicHealth Physical Activity Taskforce.

Peter Nash is a Director of Westpac, Mirvac and the Johns Lyng Group. He is also a Board member of Reconciliation Australia, the Koorie Heritage Trust, Golf Victoria and the Migration Council of Australia.

Peter was formerly a Senior Partner with KPMG and served as the National Chairman from 2011 until 2017 where he was responsible for the overall governance and strategic positioning of KPMG in Australia. In this role, Peter also served as a member of KPMG’s Global and Regional Boards.

He has worked in geographically diverse and complex operating environments providing advice on a range of topics including business strategy, rise management, internal controls, business processes and regulatory change.

Peter has also provided financial and commercial advice to a range of Government businesses at Federal and State level.

Kate Palmer is the former CEO of Sport Australia. She is passionate about sport and believes unquestionably in the power of sport and physical activity to reflect the very best in our culture to be a powerful vehicle for change.

Kate is a transformational leader who has steered organisations to excel in delivering on strategic outcomes from high performance and growing community participation through to building capability of sport and international sporting success.

Kate spent 10 years as Chief Executive Officer of Netball Australia, was Chair of the Victorian Institute of Sport, a Trustee of the MCG and CEO of Netball Victoria.

Kate is a member of Chief Executive Women and has an Honours degree in Sport Science and a Masters in Sport Management.

Luke Sayers is the Chief Executive Officer of PwC Australia.

Luke leads a team of more than 700 partners and 8000 staff who are focused on building trust in society and helping businesses solve their most important problems.

Luke is on the Board of the Carlton Football Club and chairs the Melbourne Chapter of the Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN) as well as not-for-profit organisation e.motion21.

He is a member of Monash University's Industry Council of Advisors (MICA), the Human Rights Commission Leadership Council for Cultural Diversity, and the Victorian Branch of the Male Champions of Change.

In 2019 Luke was awarded a Member of The Order of Australia for significant service to business, to people with a disability, and to the community.

Advisory group members. Clockwise from left: Susan Alberti, Clare Hanlon, Luke Sayers, Julie Bissinella, Peter Nash, Kate Palmer, Mark Anderson.