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Mixed-gender comps for NSW

what do you think

The potential for women to be committee members at a club, zone and state levels and the introduction of more mixed-gender competitions are just two of the changes in effect thanks to the impending constitution change by Bowls NSW. 

The Bowls NSW Board of Directors announced the shift is set to come into effect on October, 1 2019 with all member clubs expected to change their constitution accordingly. 

Bowls NSW has stated that “the requirement to be male in gender to register with Bowls NSW under the Bowls NSW Constitution and Regulations will be removed.” This allows any member clubs and affiliated sub-clubs to register a person of any gender as Member or registered player and will be able to compete in Association events. 

Response on social media to the change has been largely positive with only a third of bowlers wary about how it could affect the game. 

With an AGM only weeks away one of the main criticisms is that neither bowlers nor individual clubs were consulted on the matter.

But the overwhelming majority have received this news with much joy. Many have commented thanking Bowls NSW with one woman saying,

 “This is the most awesome news ever!! I can play again without travelling to another town!! Best ever move Bowls NSW.. This will mean so much to small clubs.”

The Happy Bowler, a Newcastle local said, “I’m all for it.” 

So what’s changed and what has stayed the same? We’ve made it easy for you with a quick list but if you want more details, click here for the Bowls NSW full announcement on mixed-gender comps. Some questions still hang over how this will affect the NSW Women’s Bowls Association but both them and Bowls NSW seem to be cooperating in this announcement. 

What Changes?

  • Women now have full rights and privileges to hold a committee position within bowls at a club, zone or state level. 
  • From 2020, all divisions of the State Championships (Open, Junior, over 60s, reserves), State Pennants (G1-G7), Rookie Singles and Pairs, Over 40’s Pairs will be mixed competitions. Depending on the demand of these events, next year a range of both single and mixed-gender competitions may be added to “provide equitable competition opportunities for all members”.
  • Women can now be selected to any Bowls NSW representative side. However, female sides will remain under the control of Women’s Bowls NSW. 
  • Players that are registered with both Bowls NSW and Women’s Bowls Association can only play in one pathway event that leads to a National competition.
  • Any club that is a member of Bowls NSW will change their constitution to match current policy. 

What stays the same?

  • Bowls NSW and Women’s Bowls NSW will remain separate entities. 
  • Membership Fees will remain the same until the end of the financial year 2020/2021 and will be reviewed going into 2022. 
  • There will still be single-gender competitions for Club Challenges, although there will also be a mixed category. 


  1. Wayne Perry says:

    Re: Mixed Gender comps for Nsw …..In regard to the response on Social Media…. Your article states that only one third of bowlers were wary of these changes, what a load of B%@!*&!!. I would propose that very few bowlers were ever asked what their views were and that these changes have been implemented without any consultation with male bowlers???? These changes have been introduced by a handful of so called representatives who have not consulted with their Constituents!!!!! I believe Bowls Nsw introduced these changes so that they can decimate the WBNSW.. It’s all about Money????? The Real Price of these changes will only become evident after 2020 Pennants, Championships etc????… Consultation means asking ALL Stakeholders????????

    • OSAAT says:

      Hi Wayne, thanks for your comment. Our article clearly states that the announcement by Bowls NSW generated public comment and based on the comments seen, the response was more positive than negative. Our article states, “Response on social media to the change has been largely positive with only a third of bowlers wary about how it could affect the game.” This statement is based on the analysis we did on the comments by bowlers in response to the change to be implemented by Bowls NSW. A third of the bowlers who commented were unhappy, two-thirds were happy. We go on to say that “neither bowlers nor individual clubs were consulted on the matter” which is what I think you are alluding to in your comment and the most concerning factor in this decision.

      I think you are right in wondering how these changes will affect everyone involved and these will only be apparent later on. I suggest that you write a letter to both Bowls NSW and Women’s Bowls NSW and raise your concerns about this change and have your say.

      Thanks again for your response, it’s a heated issue and one that will be on everyone’s mind for a while.

      Jo Grey
      Editor Bowls Plus

  2. Warren Smith says:

    It is very interesting to see that Bowls NSW Board of Directors have made this decision allowing women to play in male competitions and yet Women’s Bowls NSW have not made a reciprocal decision to allow males to play in their comps. This only tells me that this is a one way street. How Bowls NSW can say that one third of male bowlers are against this decision when the majority of members were not advised of this change to the constitution by a handful of people. I may be a little bit uneducated by your boards decision but blind Freddy can see you are about to lose a majority of your now loyal male bowling members. This will have a snowball effect on bowling clubs by loss of male members. Why is bowls NSW heading down this so called politically correct bandwagon of this gender bending situation? It seems Bowls NSW, with this ridiculous decision, is only sending more bowling clubs down the gurgler.

    • OSAAT says:

      Thanks for your comment Warren. A third of the bowlers commenting on social media (at this time) are unhappy – the rest seem positive. In the main, people are raising concerns that they weren’t included in consultation at an individual member level.

  3. Beverley Ryan says:

    I would have thought, to change the constitution, that every member club would have had a vote. Is my thinking wrong?

  4. Ian N Reid says:

    Why is it the Discrimination only applies to certain groups. Women can join mens clubs and play in events, but men cannot join Womens clubs.
    I believe Tasmania has had an exodus of over 200 male members since this matter was started. If this continues, it must only apply to social bowls, and certainly not competitive bowls. Its a fact that women generally are not competitive against men. This decision will certainly lead to more men exiting the game forever. Bowls is in decline in NSW and this will add to its demise.

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