New Delhi: Participation of women in sports is becoming a global phenomenon and India as a country is witnessing a paradigm shift. To provide adequate support and sensitise stakeholders for inspiring participation of women in sports, Deakin University, Australia organised a one-day workshop on ‘The Women in Sport Movement: Challenges and Solutions in India’, in association with the Australian Government and the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), on October 9, at the Australian High Commission, New Delhi.
Encouraging participation of women in various sporting activities from an early age to ensure adequate representation of women across leadership, governance, coaching and development aspects, the workshop discussed crucial aspects concerning involvement and participation of women in sports in the country.
Speaking at the opening session, Mr Chris Elstoft, Acting Australian High Commissioner to India said, “On one hand, Australia has varied experience and knowledge of organising sporting events and ensuring world class sports infrastructure, while India, on the other has capabilities and avenues of enhancing the sports sector. Together both countries are determined to work together in four broad areas of – athlete/coach training and development, sport science, sport governance and grassroots participation in sports.”
Dr Paul Gastin, Co-Director, Centre for Sport Research, Deakin University, Australia, led a team of discipline experts to conduct the workshop to sensitise the participants. These experts are members of the Women in Sport and Exercise (WISE) hub at Deakin University, which aims to improve women’s participation in sport and exercise across their lifespan through research and also strengthen relationships with communities and partners.
Emphasising Deakin’s commitment and support, Professor Jane den Hollander, Vice Chancellor and President, Deakin University supported the Workshop outcomes. "As the first Australian university to establish an office in India in 1994, Deakin is proud that its wide reaching relationships continue to strengthen and grow, providing opportunities to students around the world and helping to improve lives both in India and Australia,” Professor den Hollander said.
“At Deakin, we are in the business of higher education, but we know that there are so many synergies between sport and learning. We know that sport and education have the power to transform lives and to unite communities.
“We are also committed to ensuring we provide opportunities for women to excel in whatever field they choose and we know that sport provides women with opportunities to lead on the playing field, in the classroom and in the boardroom. The increasing number of women applicants for the exercise and sports courses at Deakin demonstrates that women understand the confidence that sport and education provide.”
The discipline experts emphasised how adequate policy and on-ground interventions can address the various barriers women and girls face to pursue careers in sports. Various case studies showcased the important contributions women make to executive leadership within sport, outlining the myths regarding women in leadership and described how boards and organisations can increase the number of women involved in sports’ governance.
Deakin’s Bachelors of Exercise and Sports Science has been ranked #1 in the world and members from this faculty were present at this workshop to share their learnings. Deakin’s Sport Management program is ranked in the top 10 in the world and is the top program in Australia.
Deakin has a long tradition of educating elite sporting individuals, through its on-campus and flexible delivery modes. As the official sport education partner to Indian Premier League cricket teams, the university’s engagement has focused on building capacity in sport specific skills (like Player Performance Analysis, Data Analytics and Development) and generic skills that include Management, Marketing, Fan Development, Fan Management, Sponsorships and Branding.