HomeInterviewExclusive: Everyone Is Accountable For Women’s Sports’ Success

Exclusive: Everyone Is Accountable For Women’s Sports’ Success


Exclusive: Everyone Is Accountable For Women’s Sports’ Success

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n an exclusive interview with Ministry of Sport, sponsorship advisory company, Super-Sub, founder, Andrew Clarke, discussed the growing desire to improve outcomes for women’s sport.

Clarke, who has over 20 years of experience across the sports industry, explained how he believes every person in society needs to be and can be accountable for fixing the current issues surrounding women’s sport.

“When it comes down to women’s sport, the biggest issue we’re facing is that we’re not talking about the biggest issue, the issue of accountability,” Clarke told Ministry of Sport.

“I feel that accountability is a general belief and acceptance that we have a role to play in society for creating the outcome we’re looking for in women’s sport.

“At the moment, if you ask anybody what they feel the issues are, I would imagine you would get answers like issues around pay, the promotion of women’s sport, governance, rule setting, facilities, and distribution of revenues for sponsorships or broadcasts.

“I see they’ve all got one thing in common as problems, being we can do nothing about it.

“What I mean by we is society, me, you, neighbours down the road, the parents, we can’t do anything to fix that unless you’re working within policy or working with rightsholders at the right level or on boards, we are powerless to create change.

“But that’s all we’re talking about, of course these issues need to be addressed, but the problem is, what we’ve done is what 99.9% of people do when they trip over on something.

“They turn around and look for something to blame, they’re looking for that grape on the floor in the supermarket that they slipped over on.

“It’s ‘why is that grape there, who put that grape there, who’s job is it to pick up that grape’.

“What we’re not doing, is saying ‘I’m the one that slipped over on the grape, what am I going to do differently next time I go to the supermarket to make sure I don’t slip on any grapes.’

“We have to help people believe the problem we’re facing with women’s sports locally and globally is the accountability, that we ourselves can have a profound impact on the outcome.

“It’s a case of saying what is it we can be doing to overcome these concerns,” he said.

Speaking on what needs to be done to improve outcomes for women’s sport, Clarke said: “From a psychology standpoint what we’re talking about is the behavioural change cycle.”

“I found it really fascinating diving into this, but there’s four, five or six stages of behavioural change.

“Two really important parts of the cycle are action and maintenance.

“What’s the general issue, what do we think it is, what are we going to do to change it, and how do we maintain the behaviour to change.

“If you don’t get that maintenance part right, you fall into relapse.

“It’s my observation that what we haven’t done is empower society to realise they can solve part of it.

“We’ve all turned around and looked for a grape.

“That will help us push for change, but it will not help people realise they can do something about it.

“Until we get that part right, we will have an issue here where we can’t sustain what it is we’re seeking.

“When you get your head around the idea it’s a behavioural change, you realise this isn’t an overnight fix, what we do today isn’t going to solve the problem tomorrow.

“There are things we will do that are quick outcomes like rebuilding a facility to be better suited for both men and women, but behavioural change is a generational game.

“Our generation need to recognise we need to empower our kids to be the ones to benefit from the change we’re creating.

“That’s a hard thing to get your head around because that’s a lot of effort to go through to not get immediate outcomes, but we need to be doing things to make sure the new generations are exposed to things that become a societal norm for them.

“Society functions well when old people plant seeds under which shade, they will never sit.

“What we’re not talking about is the most important part, which is what can I do.

“Its great brands are saying they want to make sure there’s a good split of their rights fee into men and women’s sport, but equally, let’s work together, let’s not create villains in this, we’re all aware of the big villain in this, and that’s inequality.

“Let’s trust rightsholders understand they are on a journey to create change and they understand how they need to get to that point.

“I think it would be fair to say there isn’t a CEO in Australia at a major rightsholder who isn’t aware of this issue and their organisations job of addressing this.

“If there are, I would guess they won’t be in those roles for very long.

“This is such an important issue.

“Let’s stop pointing fingers and start thinking about what is it we can do and understand the process and start to think about how we create a process where we can sit down in taskforces led by experts and develop these frameworks we can roll out so society understands the role they can be playing in this and we get to an outcome far more sustainable that benefits everybody,” Clarke said.

Talking about the role brands and sponsors have to play in the growth and success of women’s sport, Clarke said the opportunity for brands and rightsholders in the Australian market is “tremendous”.

“Brands are doing tremendous things in this space, it’s very difficult to say brands should be doing more,” Clarke told Ministry of Sport.

“We need to recognise what they are doing is very helpful, this won’t be fixed overnight, your revenue as a sponsor is vital, but this will take time to fix and let’s try as best we can to make sure those partners are on the journey for the duration.

“It would be wrong of me to say brands are sponsoring women’s sport for the wrong reasons, all of this is a positive step in the right direction, but its about making sure the right strategies and programs are written by these brands to ensure they can sustain their role over the long term, and they aren’t in a position where they believe this is a quick fix.

“We’ve got such a populated rights market in Australia, there’s such a tremendous opportunity to be a real global leader in men’s and women’s sport from grassroots to elite, but if we put all the focus on sponsors and rightsholders in this space, we will create an issue for ourselves,” he said.

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