Facilities lacking for women's sport

Kate Emery
Offside: Jade Beresford, Eliza Stockey and Montana Davis from Armadale Soccer Club. Picture: Ben Crabtree/The West Australian

Sport clubrooms that fail to cater for women are being targeted by Perth councils concerned that women may be dissuaded from playing organised sport.

More councils are applying for State Government grants to install facilities such as women's change rooms at ageing venues.

City of Stirling councillor Elizabeth Re said facilities for women were "not anywhere near the facilities for men".

The issue is also in the spotlight at the City of the Armadale, which recently completed a strategic review that highlighted the need for improvement.

Department of Sport and Recreation director-general Ron Alexander said the department had seen an increase in grant applications citing the need for facilities catering to women.

"Some of the older clubrooms may have change rooms not suitable for women, built at a time when women didn't have the opportunity to play particular sports in organised competition," he said.

"These days, more women are playing sports traditionally associated with men.

"Over time, community expectations evolve. We'd expect the owners of these facilities and sporting clubs to meet these ever-changing expectations where possible.

"We are seeing more applications to the Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund that acknowledge the growth in women's participation and the differing requirements, whether this be in new facilities or upgrades to older facilities."

Armadale Soccer Club member Eliza Stockey said the lack of women's change rooms at Alfred Skeet Reserve in Forrestdale, where the club is based, meant players either got changed "in the middle of the oval" or in the toilets.

The reserve will soon have female change rooms installed under plans funded by the city and a CSRFF grant.

Armadale mayor Henry Zelones said the city had identified key venues to be upgraded in coming years. "It's one of the things that the community expects," Mr Zelones said.