Bowls Australia (BA) is actively taking steps towards readdressing the gender balance in bowls, through the use of the Women in Bowls Working Party which met for the first time in Melbourne on February, 16-17, it focused on developing initiatives to enhance participation and the experience of women in Australian bowls.
The 12-person working party worked to find practical actions available to bowls in Australia to enhance participation by women and girls and to increase their engagement in leadership and governance roles in the sport.
The working party, appointed by the BA Board following an application process, features 11 women from across Australia and includes members from a variety of backgrounds.
BA CEO Neil Dalrymple sat as interim chair for the first meeting of the working party, with members including BA board directors Louise Witton and Jess De Greenlaw, BA staff Danielle Cirillo (Development and Programs Manager) and Lesley Bates (Regional Bowls Manager – North Queensland) and current and former Jackaroos Rebecca Van Asch and Karen Murphy.
Other members Chyloe Kurdas, Courtney Gabb, Jenni McLaughlin, Pania Rawlins and Vicki Feast also added a mass of experience to the working party, bringing experience from a variety of different sports and industries such as golf, baseball and the education sector just to name a few.
Of the more than 690,000 bowls participants in 2019, less than 32 per cent were women.
BA CEO Neil Dalrymple said the working party is a good step forward in finding ways to support an increase to women in bowls.
“There are more women in the Australian population than men, yet we still have an imbalance in bowls,” he said. “This is an area we can do more in and are doing more in.
“The working party is a good way to develop some strategies and ideas to increase female participation in bowls, and have those ideas brought to BA and state and territory bodies too.”
The recommendations of the working party require BA Board approval prior to implementation.