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Women and sport in Australia

Video clip synopsis – What is the status of women’s sport in Australia?
Year of production - 2008
Duration - 3min 0sec
Tags - civics and citizenship, gender, Learning Journey Sport, sport, women, see all tags


Women and sport in Australia

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About the Video Clip


Talkback Classroom is a forum program run by the Education section of the National Museum of Australia. Each year panels of three secondary students selected from schools Australia-wide, interview leading decision-makers on important current issues. The panels participate in a ‘learning journey’ (researching the issues and developing interview skills) to explore the issues and prepare for the forum.

This clip comes from a 2008 learning journey on the topic of Sport. The student panelists were Natasha Rooney (Yr 12 Lowther Hall Grammar School), Sarah Robertson (Yr 12 Girton Grammar School) and James Blaker (Yr 11 Melbourne High School). The interview guest was the Hon Kate Ellis, Minister for Youth and Sport. The forum was held on 28 May 2008. Prior to the forum the panelists undertook an extensive learning journey. During the learning journey they investigated topics such as multiculturalism and sport, politics and sport, women in sport and sport funding (including both government grants and sponsorship from alcohol companies).

Curriculum Focus


Teachers should consult their state’s curriculum and learning programs.

Background Information


Sport is a major part of life in Australia, occupying a large amount of people’s spare time, either through active participation or through following organised sporting competitions. Sport in Australia connects diverse and disparate communities and its importance in daily life has meant it has often been described as our national ‘religion’.

The prominence of sport in society and our nation’s response to sport reveals much about our Australian identity. The values that are important in our society are often reflected in the games we play. Professional participation versus amateurism, commercialism, politics and the opportunity of a fair go for all are all underlying themes connected to sport in Australia.

Additionally, when Australian athletes compete on an international level and their performance is measured against athletes of other nations their success translates into Australia’s success. The importance of sporting success in relation to our national consciousness is a defining element within our collective and individual notions of Australian identity.

Sporting professionals often have a high profile in Australian society and sport coverage plays an important role in the media. This means that sport intersects with many other issues in society, such as politics, gender representation, funding, equity and access.

Classroom Activities


Before you watch

  1. Conduct a survey and find out what sports people play in your class. Note whether they are sports that both males and females play or if they are sports that just one gender plays.
  2. Do you think that women’s sport should have equal coverage to men’s sport? Why do you think that men’s sport gets so much more media coverage in Australia? Talk with another person and write 100 words to explain your ideas.

While you watch

  1. What reason does James Merlino give for the poor coverage of women’s sport in Australia?

After you watch

  1. Research the trans-Tasman competition. Construct a poster that advertises this competition.
  2. Find out how many women, children and men play netball in Australia. Research the number of people who participate in soccer, cricket and football. Present your findings in a pie chart.

Further Resources


Go to the National Museum of Australia’s Talkback Classroom website

Go to the Australian Sports Commission website