Breaking down barriers to women and sport – symposium

Raising the profile of women’s participation in sport across all sectors of society will be the focus of a symposium at Griffith University’s Gold Coast today (November 28).

Hosted by the Centre for Social and Cultural Research and the Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management, speakers include leading sports academics and industry professionals.

Griffith University Research Fellow Dr Adele Pavlidis, who is researching women and contact sport, said while women’s participation at elite and recreational levels was being acknowledged as valuable, there was still a long way to go.

Dr Adele Pavlidis.
Dr Adele Pavlidis.

“Barriers include equal pay and access to competition and training facilities as well as equal media coverage,’’ she said.

“We need to work across silos and work together so we can increase women’s participation in all sports traditionally dominated by males.”

She said women’s contact sports such as AFL competition, rugby sevens and rugby league were now commanding serious media and audience attention and becoming permanent fixtures on sporting calendars.

“It’s clear, people now know it is unacceptable to exclude half the population when it comes sport.”

The event will cover four key themes — media, governance and leadership, mega and major sport events and grassroots participations with expert panellists in each area.

Each panel will be followed with round-table activities where industry and academic representatives can discuss and brainstorm a range of issues related to women’s growing participation in sport.


  • Professor Simone Fullagar, Physical Cultural Studies Research Group, University of Bath, UK
  • Professor Kristine Toohey, AM Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management, Griffith University
  • Dr Sarah Kelly, UQ Business School and Director on the board of the Brisbane Lions AFL club.
  • Dr Kim Toffoletti, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University
  • Glynis Nunn-Cearns OAM, Board Member, Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation Executive Director, Australian Track and Field Coaches Association
  • Sam Hughes, Senior Active Parks Officer, City of Gold Coast
  • Keeown Rawnsley, Female Participation Coordinator at the National Rugby League
  • Danielle Warby, Journalist and advocate for women in sport
  • Anne Marie White OAM, award winning author and journalist
  • A/Professor Popi Sotiriadou, Griffith University, Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management
  • Kerry Harris, Executive Manager Corporate Services, West Australian Football Commission

WHAT: Women and Sport Symposium

WHEN: Tuesday, November 28 9am-5pm

WHERE: Building G42, Level 4, Gold Coast campus

MEDIA CONTACT: Deborah Marshall, 0413 156 601, Stephen O’Grady, 0408 727 706