Push to remove barriers for women in sport

·2-min read

Sports Minister Anika Wells is pushing to get all the major codes onside and increase female representation in boardrooms and on the field.

Ms Wells wants to see more women leading the charge in sports as she makes the case for equal pay and integrity.

"I want people to know that integrity and equality is an absolute priority for me as the new young woman sports minister," she told AAP ahead of a roundtable of athletes and administrators at Parliament House on Tuesday.

"I want to see better pay conditions for the athletes knocking down the barriers that stop them from becoming the administrators, the people who run the (national sporting organisations)."

This was exacerbated during COVID when men in permanent roles experienced an economic buffer while women, who were more likely to be in casual roles, lost their jobs, Ms Wells said.

"We have even more work to make up now we're through the worst of COVID," she told the roundtable.

"Women continue to be under-represented, not just across participation but also across staff levels at all levels of sport compared to their male counterparts."

Basketball star Lauren Jackson welcomed the roundtable, saying it provided a great opportunity to help close the gender pay gap in sport.

"While women are increasingly being recognised for their on-field excellence, we need to improve access and recognition for women in off-field roles," Jackson said.

"It is pretty simple, boosting women's workforce participation in sport can help build the workforce required and close the gender pay gap."

The sports minister agreed women in the sports workforce not only needed better support, but better recognition as well.

"Through collective action, we can make the sport workforce an attractive one to work in for women, both those who are currently in the sector and those who we want to attract," Ms Wells said.

The discussions will form part of the agenda Ms Wells will take to the government's jobs and skills summit on Thursday and Friday.

The roundtable was also facilitated by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, who conducted the landmark report into the culture at Parliament House and within politics.

Ms Jenkins says it's important the subsequent white paper following the summit is informed by as many voices as possible.