What club committees can do for women and girls.

Written by Natalie Doyle

August 23, 2022

Neon sign saying 'Do something great'

Any of you involved in club committees will know that August is a busy time of year.  Seasons have started or are due to start, players need to be registered, kit and equipment checked or purchased, and volunteers to be recruited.  I recently hosted an episode of the Sport Sister Podcast that focused on women in leadership and it really made me think about how important club committees are in providing opportunities for women and girls in sport.

So I thought I’d use this month’s blog post to share some of my top tips on how you can best utilise your club committee to engage and empower women and girls.

1. Review your club committee set-up.  Look at who currently sits on your club committee.  What are their roles? Do you have representation from different genders, ethnicities, and people with disabilities?  If not, think about how you could encourage people from under-represented groups to join (more on that later).  Do you have someone on your club committee whose role it is to grow women’s and girls’ participation within the club?  Generally, clubs with someone to drive this area see the biggest success.

2. Identify your gaps and proactively recruit in these areas.  Speak to partners such as your County FA if you would like to increase representation from women, the LGBTQ+ community, ethnic minorities, or any other groups in society, and they might be able to introduce you to some people who could be interested in the roles, or they could share an advert on your behalf.  Talk to your parents and carers and tell them what you want to do and why – they might be keen to support you.

3. Think about succession planning.  Consider how you can encourage younger people to get involved with running the club.  Perhaps you could form a youth committee to give young people a voice in the club and prepare them for a role in the club committee in the future?  Don’t always approach their meetings in the way you run your club committee meetings because this might not appeal to them.  Ask them how they want the meetings to run and take their lead but always make sure there is adult support available if they need it.  If you do start a youth committee then make sure you have equal representation from all genders.

4. Talk to the women that are around your club – mums, grandmothers, carers.  Find out what skills and experience they have.  They’ll likely have some great transferable skills that could benefit your club committee.  Build those relationships and then build up their confidence to feel they have something valuable to contribute, even if they don’t know anything about football!  As Sarah Waite mentioned in our podcast episode, if you’ve organised a 3 year old’s birthday party then organising kids to have fun is easy!

5. Support new club committee members.  Once you’ve got someone willing to help then you want to hold on to them!  Inductions might be something you associate with your day job but they’re also a great way to support new volunteers or club committee members.  Make sure you give them all the information they need to carry out their role and that they have someone they can contact with any questions.  Allocate them time to spend with the other club committee members to learn about their roles.  Check-in with them regularly to see whether they need any more support.

6. Look at all of the opportunities you provide for women and girls. Compare it to the opportunities you provide for men and boys.  Are they equal?  Where can improvements be made?  Make changes as you need to, considering playing, coaching and other volunteering opportunities to ensure your club is fully inclusive.

Club committees play such an important role in providing sporting opportunities for women and girls.  Use this as a chance to provide positive role models for young girls and opportunities for women to show what they can do in a leadership role.

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