New policy aimed at North East football clubs embracing a more inclusive and respectful attitude towards women

THE idea that football clubs are about the hero who “kicks seven goals and sinks 17 beers after the game” is being challenged in a new campaign.

AFL North East Border, Wangaratta Council and Women’s Health Goulburn North East have united to back a respect and equity policy.

Out of the shadows: Caitlyn Hoggan and Ash Allan are backing a respect and equity approach at football clubs. They're at Wangaratta's King George V Gardens.

Out of the shadows: Caitlyn Hoggan and Ash Allan are backing a respect and equity approach at football clubs. They're at Wangaratta's King George V Gardens.

It is aimed at making football clubs more inclusive and respectful towards women as well as encourage them to change attitudes towards family violence.

Women’s Health promotions officer Caitlyn Hoggan spoke at the campaign’s launch on Thursday of how it aimed to tackle convention.

“Football clubs have historically been associated with a masculine culture and reinforced the stereotype of the typical Australian bloke,” Ms Hoggan said.

“The club hero would be the guy that’s rough, tough and aggressive on the field, kicks seven goals and sinks 17 beers after the game

“This policy has the platform to challenge this stereotype and ensure that all club members feel valued and respected.”

Ms Hoggan, a netballer for Moyhu in the Ovens and King league, said clubs would be encouraged to pledge their support for the policy.

Practically that may mean making their clubrooms more inviting for women by not having them dominated by photos of male teams.

Other measures suggested included expanding match day awards beyond on-field deeds and upgrading netball facilities to add appeal to girls and women.

Sign of the times: The launching of the respect and equity policy for North East football clubs was part of the Victoria Against Violence action plan.

Sign of the times: The launching of the respect and equity policy for North East football clubs was part of the Victoria Against Violence action plan.

The Wangaratta Tigers Junior Football Club, which has 72 players across under 12s, 14s and 16s, plains to back the campaign.

Club president Ash Allan said the world was shifting and it was important football teams followed.

“The attitudes certainly are changing, but it is as much about parents’ modelling that as well, the old days of in-jokes need to go and we’ve got to change some of the language,” Mr Allan said.

“We get kids from diverse backgrounds and I’m sure some of them are seeing difficult times at home and our job is to welcome them in an environment that is supportive and where they feel valued and equal.”

AFL North East Border league operations manager Jeremy Wilson said he would be pushing the policy to the 11 Wangaratta junior clubs and 12 Ovens and King clubs.

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