Inclusive Club Environments

The club environment plays an important role in a participants football experience and will ultimately contribute to whether or not your club is able to retain players.

For many years, football clubs have been viewed as a male space and as participation by women and girls continues to increase, clubs are needing to pivot and disrupt traditional perceptions and practices in order to create a welcoming environment.

With this diversity in mind, coaches and administrators should consider how to include everyone successfully into their club. For females, barriers to participation can take on numerous forms and prevent them joining a club or remaining at the club. One of the key factors is not feeling like they belong, or that they are always considered second rank to the males at the club.

When we talk about inclusive club environments, this includes both the physical environment and the actions that take place within it. Click here for more information regarding the physical environment (facilities and Infrastructure).

Research tells us that some young people perceive football clubs are not for them. Providing an enjoyable and welcoming environment during the first visit is paramount to helping the player feel connected – this is vital to ensuring new players return.

Access the Quick Wins for an Inclusive Club checklist

This quick wins toolkit has been built using the VicHealth ‘Quick Wins for Sporting Clubs’ framework which is aimed at supporting clubs to increase promotion, participation and leadership opportunities for women and girls in sport. The ideas shared within this document are easy to implement, mostly zero-cost, simple to communicate and evidence-based ideas to tackle gender equality.

Here are some general tips for ensuring your club is welcoming and inclusive;

  • Select a peer buddy from player group to partner new players
  • Provide female role models
  • Select a welcome officer to host new members
  • Provide same opportunities and conditions for the females as the males – don’t just give the women hand me down uniforms and equipment, ensure they have what they need
  • Implement a facilities access rotation policy that ensures females get equal opportunity to access the oval and facilities
  • Ensure club facilities are clean and hygienically presented
  • Ensure all members of the club are featured in club memorabilia such as trophies, photos and banners
  • Ensure volunteers and staff are qualified, friendly and approachable
  • Ensure your social media and website platforms are up to date and reflect the culture of your club – potential players will generally do research before contacting your club
  • Ensure male members of the club display appropriate behaviours towards female members and vice versa.
  • Make sure males & females are equal represented in all club functions, i.e. team selection nights, awards nights, social functions. Female awards should not be weighted any less than male awards.