Women in Bowls Strategy
In 2020, Bowls Australia (BA) took the first steps towards readdressing the gender balance in bowls, with a Women in Bowls Working Party.
The focus was on developing initiatives to enhance participation and the experience of women and girls in Australian bowls and to increase their engagement in leadership and governance roles in the sport.
Of the more than 690,000 bowls participants in 2019, less than 32 per cent were women.
“There are more women in the Australian population than men, yet there is an imbalance in bowls. This is an area in which we are actively trying to improve,” BA CEO Neil Dalrymple said.
In November 2021, the Women in Bowls Strategy was presented to the State and Territory Associations and approved by the BA Board.
The implementation of the strategy is now in action. The initiatives currently in action include identification of leaders, Women’s leadership courses, staff and leadership team education, club workshop pilots, governance and media reviews.
Five action items for your club to increase the number of women:
- Review your website and social media: “You can’t be what you can’t see”.
- Review governance and reporting: Does your constitution and club rules specify gender? Can a woman report issues to another woman in leadership?
- Review opportunities for women to play: Women are working for longer, does your club offer opportunities for women to play outside work hours and for shorter periods of time? Shorter versions of the game, played on weeknights are working well.
- Respect and welcome women and girls: Ensure the spirit of the game is based on enjoyment and inclusion. Women name poor behaviour as the leading reason as to why they leave the game, whilst men name constraints on their time.
- Encourage women in leadership roles: Diversity on the Club Board and in management roles can bring fresh ideas, new prospective and identify unforeseen risks.
Women in Bowls Working Party
- Neil Dalrymple – BA CEO.
- Chyloe Kurdas – Previously Golf Australia Female Engagement Senior Manager.
- Courtney Gabb – Vic Health ‘This Girl Can’ ambassador.
- Jenni McLaughlin – Former Baseball WA Women’s Council member, Taren Point BC member, former WA Women’s state squad member, corporate governance and compliance experience.
- Jess De Greenlaw – BA board director, former Women’s Bowls NSW appointed director, practicing barrister for 19+ years.
- Louise Witton – BA board director, Australian over-60s, NSW and Queensland bowls representative.
- Karen Murphy – BA Hall of Fame member, 650+ caps for Australian Jackaroos, Commonwealth Games gold medallist, 4x World champion.
- Pania Rawlins – Bowls SA Relationship Program Officer overseeing ‘Driving Women in Leadership’ project, 14+ years sport and recreation experience.
- Rebecca Van Asch – Current Australian Jackaroo, Bowls Tasmania CEO, 2x Commonwealth Games gold medallist and 3x World champion, 20+ years bowls experience.
- Vicki Feast – Toorak Burnside BC Women’s Bowls Working Group chair, doctor of education, retired/adjunct senior research fellow at UniSA and higher education consultant.
Women in Bowls Survey
BA is committed to making Bowls in Australia a more diverse and inclusive sport.
In August 2020, a national survey was created to gather data and evidence and provide the Working Party with information to guide the creation of a strategy to address this important area of our sport.