Monday, October 25, 2010

Australian women's sports club targeted

This story crossed my desktop earlier this month: A women's sports club in Darebin, Victoria, Australia has been (it seems) targeted by vandals and thieves for about a year now. The club has been broken into and graffitied. Money has been stolen (along with alcohol). And once, the windows were broken by marbles tossed at the Darebin Women's Sports Club.
I couldn't find much info in this article but I was surprised that the tone of the short piece was on the calm side, even as interviewees expressed concern over the repeated attacks. Some were thinking it might be because it is a women's club, but the fact that graffiti has been described as "fairly derogatory to women" (though no examples were shared) makes it more than likely. I do not know that much about the climate for women's sports in Australia. I do know that interest or adeptness in men's sports like rugby and football are nearly essential components of Australian masculinity. But I know there does seem to be support for women's national teams like basketball and softball. Not knowing much about the structure of women's sports in the country, I assume that a women's sports club is more of a recreational or semi-professional establishment. And perhaps these establishments are not as welcome.
Obviously I am doing a lot surmising here and waiting for anyone with more information to help me out. I still think it's troubling--whatever the status of these clubs or women's sports generally--that the space in which female athletes gather and train is being attacked.

PS. A little research goes a long way...
So the Darebin Women's Sports Club was founded in 1990. It provides its members (one has to pay annual dues to be a member) opportunities to play Australian rules football, soccer, and other sports (there is a picture of someone playing cricket on the website). Here is the club's statement of purpose.
a) to promote and encourage the development and participation of women in sport.
b) to promote awareness and encourage the games of Australian Rules football,
soccer and other sports as sports for women.
c) to provide women with the opportunity to participate in organised sports as
players, coaches and officials.
d) to promote the development of skills and fitness relevant to Australian Rules
Football, soccer and other sports.
e) to provide women with the opportunity to play Australian Rules football, soccer
and other sports in competitive teams.
f) to promote friendly sporting behaviour.
g) to assist other organisations in the promotion, encouragement and organisation
of women's football and soccer.
h) to provide women with the opportunity to participate in the organisation,
development and management of a sporting club.
i) to provide a friendly and harmonious environment in Associations premises and
at Associations social events.

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