The Be The Change! forum has been shortlisted for the state’s highest health promotion honours at the 2017 VicHealth Awards Ceremony in December.
The Be The Change! forum, which was run in June, was a free event for football and netball clubs in the Eastern Football League and AFL Yarra Ranges with over 200 representatives in attendance at Ringwood’s Karralyka Centre.
The forum was a joint-initiative between the EFL, AFL Yarra Ranges, Inspiro, Eastern Health and Coles (eastern region) and focused on creating positive culture change for gender equity and the prevention of violence against women, and has been shortlisted in the award category of ‘building health through sport’.
The evening featured Jason Ball as MC, along with Collingwood AFLW player Emma Grant and former Sydney Swans player Luke Ablett.
Emma Grant in action for Collingwood. PICTURE: Getty Images
Grant spoke about her football journey and the improving pathways and opportunities for young female footballers.
Ablett, a 2005 premiership player, spoke about his time working in football in the education and gender equity field, and the crucial role sporting clubs can play in making positive change.
Eastern Football League CEO Phil Murton was in attendance on the evening and was thrilled with the success of the forum.
“The commitment of those who attended and the noise in the room was a testament to people’s interest in making change,” Murton said in June.
“I’ve been involved in a number of workshops within local councils where statistics on domestic violence in the east are shared. The numbers are frightening.
“If we can ensure footy and netball clubs are places where females have the opportunity to be involved and feel safe and welcome, and males seeing and learning (with high expectations) how to behave in a respectful manner, then we are all the better for it.”
The EFL has seen significant growth and expansion in female participation in recent years between its football and netball clubs, with some 2,500 females and families involved who weren’t just four years ago.
2017 saw the EFL and AFL Yarra Ranges launch the Deakin University Eastern Region Women’s Competition, following the success of the Eastern Region Girls junior competition.
“It’s terrific female participation and involvement in our clubs is growing,” Murton said.
“And it’s only going to get bigger. It’s up to us all now to turn the mirror on ourselves and our clubs and ask the questions about how we can make our club an even more inclusive place for females.”
Winners will be announced on Tuesday, December 5 at the VicHealth Awards Ceremony.
For more information about the 2017 VicHealth Awards, visit www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/awards.