Surf lifesaving, and therefore the wider community, benefits from the 83,826 dedicated female members of all ages and roles across the 314 surf clubs around Australia who contribute in a variety of activities from active patrolling, to surf sports, education and everything in between.
July 1 2020 marked the 40 year anniversary of Women in Surf Life Saving being able to gain their Bronze Medallion and participate as active surf lifesavers in surf clubs around Australia.
While the anniversary celebrates the formal introduction of women in Surf Life Saving at a national level, women have been involved at all different levels of Surf Life Saving since its early inception in 1907.
Throughout history, there are stories of trail blazing women from around Australia who have supported local surf clubs in many ways before the official inclusion of women to active lifesaving duties in 1980.
Surf Life Saving Australia President Graham Ford AM said that the movement has come a long way in 40 years, but acknowledges that there is still more that can be done to ensure that more women can pursue opportunities, especially leadership opportunities in Surf Life Saving.
“I’m proud to be able to say that 40 years on from women first being able to complete their Bronze Medallion, our 181,603 strong movement, females make up 46 per cent of our membership and are vital to our success, growth and development,” President Graham Ford AM said.
“Our inaugural SLSA Women’s Mentoring Program was launched last year and we have recently opened a second in-take due to the overwhelming amount of interest.
“The program is designed to increase the number of Women in leadership roles within SLSA and is another step to ensure that more women are represented, selected and encouraged to take leadership positions within Surf Life Saving.”
SLSA Life Member and Board Director Suzanne Storrie who has been integral in the Women’s Mentoring Program initiative said that the program is a practical way that SLSA can create change and increase the number of leadership roles.
“SLSA is committed to diversity and inclusion and our National Women’s Mentoring Program, proudly supported by McCarthy Mentoring, is a practical way we can create change and increase the number of women in leadership roles from 20 per cent to at least 40 per cent by 2030,” Storrie said.
“With women comprising 46 per cent of total members, we knew we needed to address the status quo in order for women to confidently take on positions of leadership.
“We are seeing early results, with mentors and mentees already taking on new leadership challenges inside and outside of surf lifesaving and we were excited to launch the second mentoring cohort in February, given we had so many applications for the first cohort launched in July 2020.”
To read more about the Women’s Mentoring Program – click here.
To read more on 2021 International Women’s Day – click here.