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To: Gillon McLachlan, CEO Australian Football League, Todd Greenberg, CEO National Rugby League, David Gallop, CEO Football Federation Australia, and Raelene Castle, CEO Rugby Australia, Julian Sullivan, CEO Victorian Racing Club

Australian Women's Day: A day that changes the game

Australian Women's Day: A day that changes the game


Dear CEOs,
In June 2018, the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics revealed that on State of Origin game nights, domestic violence increases by 40.7% in NSW.* Increases in family violence have also been documented during the AFL Grand Final, Melbourne Cup,** and the World Cup.***

In response to this startling statistic we are calling on you to become involved in Australian Women's Day. To join us in celebrating Australian women on 22 September each year. This date has been chosen because it's a heightened time for footy fever; we're in the midst of the Spring Racing Carnival; and it sits at the end of the Rugby season and the beginning of the professional soccer season in Australia.

Your organisations are pillars of leadership and cultural identity for many Australians, particularly Australian men. We want to hear your players, coaches, jockeys, and trainers talking about how much they value the women in their lives and in their industry. These people are heroes to the men and boys who watch your games and races. They need to hear their heroes standing up for women. And the women and girls who work in your industries and who support your sports need to know that you value them too. They need to know you're doing something to ensure they aren't being put in harm's way as a consequence of your events.

The data shows us that your events are currently contributing to the level of domestic violence in this country. We know that you must be concerned about this and are calling on your organisations to therefore take significant action and play a vital role in addressing the problem.

We want you to lead the revolution for men in this country. We know you are taking steps toward greater gender inclusion and we want you to go much further.

We, the women of Australia, have created Australian Women's Day as a day to acknowledge our enormous contribution to Australian society. We are now calling on you to become involved by acknowledging it's not women's responsibility to stop domestic violence, it's the responsibility of men.

We want you to demand more from your members. To educate them and celebrate the women in their lives. To lead by demonstration.

We are asking each of you to do a lot more to highlight the women who are in your industry and who support your industry.

Victorian Racing Club, we want you to highlight and celebrate your female jockeys, owners, trainers, race callers, hospitality staff, administrative and managerial staff, and your female members throughout the Spring Racing Carnival. We want to see women featured prominently as far more than merely fashion on the field.

Rugby Australia and Football Federation Australia we want you to be spokespeople, to lead the conversation, to include your members in the recognition of women on this weekend and to re-educate men around respectful relationships with women. We want you to feature women at the end and beginning of your seasons respectively.

NRL and AFL we're calling on you to feature women in the finals season during the weekend of 22 September. To make women visible on that day. We are far more than spectators and cancer survivors. We want to see amazing Australian women on the field, commentating, acknowledged by the players, having their stories shared in the programming of the day, and on your social media platforms. By making women prominent on 22 September, we want to create a circuit breaker in the violence that we know will happen if you do nothing.

We don't make this call to take away from the players and teams who are being celebrated at this time. Many women love footie too. We simply want to add women to the story. We want to weave Australian Women's Day into the finals season because if women stay invisible, women will be beaten up. If you remain silent about this issue, women will suffer.

So, each of you has a choice now. You can do nothing and allow more women to be beaten up or you can change the statistic. We've created a day and an occasion for you to take action; 22 September. You now have an enormous opportunity and obligation to change the trajectory of this nation.

We look forward to you taking leadership in this area and showing us how incredible and supportive Australian men can be when they stand behind their women.

The Sistership

* "The Association between State of Origin and assaults in two Australian states" M Livingston, June 2018, LaTrobe University
** "Drinking Cultures and Social Occasions: Alcohol harms in the context of major sporting events" Belinda Lloyd, Sharon Matthews, Michael Livingston, Harindra Jayasekara, December 2011, VicHealth
*** "Can the FIFA World Cup Football (Soccer) Tournament Be Associated with an Increase in Domestic Abuse?" Stuart Kirby, Brian Francis, Rosalie O’Flaherty, 22 July 2013, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency

Why is this important?

Respect for women is pivotal to keeping us safe. A whole new conversation is needed in Australian about how valuable its women are.

Men, you have a choice;
(i) you can choose to celebrate women;
(ii) you can abuse, threaten, humiliate, isolate, and murder us; or
(iii) you can do what men have done for centuries; witness crimes against women and say nothing, do nothing, and even hide the evidence.

We recognise that not all men beat the women in their lives. We recognise that some men speak up for women who are being beaten up. We also know that most men stand by and do nothing.

Significant sporting events accelerate, ignite, and contribute to an increase (of up to 40%) in the level of domestic violence in this country.

This is why Australian Women's Day is occurring on the date that it is. It's being created as a circuit breaker during a time of footie fever and spring racing. We don't want to stop the conversation about, or celebration of sport, we want to expand it to include women's stories and women's experiences. One of those experiences is that women are being beaten up while men are playing sport. It's imperative that this be acknowledged and addressed.

Violent relationships are bred in an environment that allows for women to be disrespected. Violent relationships are perpetuated by the silence of good people turning a blind eye and choosing to do nothing.

Australian Women's Day is a day for speaking up, for seeing a bigger picture; a picture that includes both men and women. For acknowledging that women's experiences and contributions matter, and for making us more prominent in the national psyche.

Violent relationships need pattern interrupters. A national day that signals to the men of Australia that women matter is that pattern interrupter.

This is the game changer we've been waiting for as a nation.

If you believe women deserve to be safe from harm during significant sporting events in the national calendar, please sign this petition.

If you believe women deserve a national day to celebrate our achievements and our contribution to Australian society, please support our Gofundme campaign here:

How it will be delivered

We will email the signatures and do a live conference here on Australian Women's Day, 22 September 2018.

Reasons for signing

  • To help keep women safe during this time of the year . To also encourage more respect for women and education about ways to deal with anger and frustration in non harmful ways..
  • If I can do anything to prevent violence against women then I will. We need to to teach respect for oneself and others from a young age. Respect needs to be modelled by those we admire. Having respect nurtured within will, in turn, bring respect for others. They can never harm others physically or emotionally. This Australian Women's Day can be the 'pattern breaker' that says it's not at a woman because the day, the match or just life hasn't gone your way.
  • Because I am passionate about women supporting women to be united and boost each other up, to learn from one anothers wisdom and support. We need more authentic women leaders and by uniting we are creating them. Women will heal this planet, make her strong again.


2018-09-13 19:36:21 +1000

100 signatures reached

2018-08-21 16:59:17 +1000

50 signatures reached

2018-08-20 18:29:46 +1000

25 signatures reached

2018-08-17 13:14:27 +1000

10 signatures reached