World Players Association Conference reflects on progress made and the long road ahead to realising gender equity in global sport


World Players Association Conference reflects on progress made and the long road ahead to realising gender equity in global sport

The World Players Association brought together leaders from across the player association movement in Melbourne, Australia on 16 – 17 January at the inaugural in-person Roar Room for Gender Equity in Sport Conference.

The conference -hosted in partnership with the Australian Athletes’ Alliance at Deakin University’s state of the art Downtown Campus brought together more than 100 representatives, including current and former athletes, senior player association staff, academics and key industry stakeholders. It provided a platform for attendeestoshare their challenges, experiences, and common commitment to achieving a better future for women’s players

The Conference considered that, despite some positive advances – only achieved through strategic action and collective bargaining – gender equity in sport remains a distant reality for thousands of women players globally.

‘Women’s sport is at an exciting and pivotal point where the game is growing rapidly and undergoing significant professionalization around the world,” said World Players Association Player Relations Coordinator, Gabriela Garton. “As player associations, we have the responsibility and the opportunity to ensure that players are empowered to take ownership and have a voice in terms of where they want their sport to go.”

“The Roar Room Conference provided a unique space where player association staff, players and other stakeholders could come together to not only imagine the possibilities for the women’s game but also commit to and develop a strategy around how to achieve gender equity in sport through organizing and collective bargaining.”

Alex Chidiac, current Australian national football team and A-League Women’s player, said of the Roar Room, “It was super impactful listening to the different stories from the various player associations and realizing not only how much we have achieved but also how far we still have to go. Collectively we are all working towards that goal, and the more athletes who can jump on board, the more we can change our sports for the better.”

The Conference was moderated by Australian former professional basketballer, and world champion, Jenni Screen. Speakers included Matthew Graham (Interim Executive Director of WPA), Sally McManus (Secretary, Australian Council of Trade Unions), Beau Busch (CEO of Professional Footballers Australia), Chloe Dalton (AFLW Player), Lydia Williams (Matilda and A-League Player), Tony Clark (Executive Director of the MLBPA and President of WPA), Dr Hunter Fujak (Lecturer at Deakin University), Brydie Parker (NRLW Player), Sarah Rowe (AFLW Player / multisport athlete), Rebecca Chitty (GM of Strategy and Transformation at AFLPA), Ashley Stanley (Player Representation Adviser of NZRPA), Todd Greenberg (CEO of the ACA), Paul Marsh (CEO of AFLPA) and Steph Bond (CEO of NZNPA).

Attendees committed to continue building and organizing around a collective vision for the future of women’s sport to ensure the next generation of women players can realize their full potential as players and people.

World Players is committed to continue empowering the movement dedicated to making positive change in women’s sport a reality. Further Roar Room Conferences are now planned in regions including Europe and North America as part of World Players’ steadfast commitment to gender equity.