Club Respect’s podcast, Smart Plays, tackles the difficult social issues in sport and explores our capacity for positive social change.
In this episode, we speak with Professor Clare Hanlon, who argues that respect is about giving choices and that women and girls must feel confident and comfortable stepping onto the field of play.
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In 2021, US popstar Pink offered to pay a fine imposed on the Norwegian Beach Handball team after they chose to wear bike shorts instead of the mandated bikini bottoms at the European championships. Pink argued that the Federation “should be fined for sexism”.
For many, this was their introduction to the idea that sports uniform design may not be as it seems, with the incident triggering a debate around freedom of choice and what is and isn’t proper.
At the grassroots level, participation rates for women and girls continue to rise rapidly and adjusting to the needs of this growing participation base is essential.
The stats paint a compelling case for change:
- 69% of active girls said they would continue playing sports if they could wear their preferred uniform
- 43% of active girls were self-conscious about what they were wearing because of the uniform.
- 25% of inactive girls across eight countries said they would start playing sports if they could wear their preferred uniform.
Professor Clare Hanlon is the Chair of the Susan Alberti Women in Sport at Victoria University, spearheading research that has prompted major sports and peak bodies to rethink their uniform policies, helping women and girls to optimise their performance and comfort levels.