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Empowering women in South East Asian sport

Victoria University is helping women play a stronger role in sport leadership in South East Asia as part of a three-year research project.

VU is partnering with Gymnastics Australia and the South East Asian Gymnastics Confederation to empower women in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand increase their capacity to officiate, coach, and govern gymnastics in their countries.

VU project coordinator Associate Professor Clare Hanlon said the study aims to encourage women in these countries to become sport leaders and address the overwhelming male bias at its leadership and management levels.

It involves designing and delivering coaching and officiating workshops and online courses adapted for the cultural needs of women in South East Asia, and providing them with leadership and governing ‘tool kits’, as well as an online mentoring program.

VU will evaluate the project to assist with its long-term sustainability by surveying participants throughout the three-year period.

Dr Hanlon said the project will likely have an added benefit of providing participants with an expanded sense of confidence so they see themselves as leaders in other situations.

“By acquiring leadership skills and experience as peer educators, coaches, officials and board members, participants have an effective platform for other situations such as civic leadership, employment, advocacy, and taking greater control over their own lives,” she said.

The three ASEAN countries and the sport of gymnastics were initially targeted for the project, but it  could also be implemented in other sports and countries in the region, she said.

The $101,200 project was one of the first funded by the Australia-ASEAN Council (AAC), under the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Dr Hanlon’s research colleagues in the study at VU’s Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL) include Associate Professor Rochelle Eime, Dr Jack Harvey, and Dr Melanie Charity.


Dr Clare Hanlon is available for interview.

Media Contact:
Ann Marie Angebrandt: 03 9919 5487, 0401 100 576, [email protected]


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