IMG 2646Football and netball clubs in Melbourne’s east are being encouraged to take a stand to support gender equality.

The upcoming Be the Change Forum aims to inspire and create discussions around what actions local sporting clubs can take to create equal and respectful environments for women and men.

This event is proudly supported by Coles Eastern Region, pictured right, who used their participation in Run Melbourne 2016 and other fundraising activities to support this initiative.

To be held on June 7, special guests Collingwood AFLW player Emma Grant and former AFL player Luke Ablett will share their stories and thoughts on what clubs can do for gender equality. 

Eastern Health Executive Director of Clinical Operations Matt Sharp said it was important that individuals and sporting clubs understood the importance of creating respectful and gender equitable environments.

He said it was important the community was united in condemning violence against women, in any form. “Respectful relationships and gender equality between men, women, boys and girls is the key to preventing violence against women. No matter what our differences are – or our gender – it is important for each person to feel respected, valued, safe and appreciated in all of their relationships.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Eastern Football League, Phil Murton, said local sporting clubs could play a vital leadership role on this important issue. “With the support of local community and health organisations, an event such as this can help sporting clubs become even more inclusive parts of their local community.”

AFL Yarra Ranges Region General Manager Aaron Bailey encouraged members of local sporting clubs as well as the general community to attend the Be the Change Forum. “It is important we have this conversation in an open and honest manner. Being treated equally and with dignity is something we believe is important for our communities throughout the Yarra Ranges. An event like this is a significant, positive step forward.”

A study by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety indicated that intimate partner violence is the leading cause of illness, injury and death for Victorian women aged 18-44. Almost every week one woman is killed by a current or previous male partner – and new research indicates that this rate is increasing.

The Be the Change Forum is being co-ordinated by Eastern Health, Inspiro, Yarra Ranges Council, AFL Yarra Ranges and the Eastern Football League and will be held on Wednesday 7 June 2017 at Karralyka Centre in Ringwood at 6.30pm. For more information about the event, please email:

If you, or someone you know needs assistance for family violence or abuse, please contact 1800 RESEPCT (1800 737 732). In an emergency dial triple zero (000).

Some tips are creating a more respectful environment for women in your sporting club:

  • Involve women in all aspects of your club environment, including the committee, coaching and playing
  • Breakdown gender stereotype roles, such as encouraging more men to work in the canteen
  • Consider how you can ensure your facilities are female friendly, e.g. toilets and change rooms

To join Eastern Health's 2017 Run Melbourne team and fundraise for your local Eastern Health hospital, please contact us today on 9895 4608 or sign up online.

If you would like to support this project, please donate now, mentioning 'Be the Change' when asked where to direct your gift.