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A momentous week for women in sport

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‘The Lucas girls’ and ‘Khaki Girls’ 1918 women’s football match. Photo courtesy of Ballarat Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour Committee.

BALLARAT has become synonymous with women’s football and, as a city, we’re extremely proud of this story.

It was in 1918 ‘the Lucas girls’ first pulled on their football boots in what was considered a novel attraction for the times – Victoria’s first organised women’s football match.

On 28 September 1918, ‘the Lucas girls’ took on the ‘Khaki Girls’ of the Commonwealth Clothing Factory Melbourne as part of their fundraising efforts to construct the Ballarat Arch of Victory.

The fundraiser helped ‘the Lucas girls’ raise £320.

Fast forward 100 years and women’s football in Ballarat has never been stronger.

This also extends to other structured and unstructured physical activities.

City of Ballarat Mayor Samantha McIntosh said 2018 marked a momentous time for women in sport across not only the Ballarat region, but an entire nation.

“The increasing rate of women’s participation in sport is encouraging, and we understand today more than ever how important it is to support this,” she said.

“It seems incredibly fitting the work we, with the community’s support, have put into the Active Women and Girls’ Strategy is also being celebrated in 2018 – almost 100 years since the first organised game of women’s football in Victoria was played.

“This strategy seeks to create opportunities so women and girls have equitable opportunities to participate in the sporting environment.” City of Ballarat Councillors will meet on 4 April to vote to adopt the 2018 Active Women and Girls’ Strategy.

The strategy will guide future initiatives aimed at increasing female participation in sport and physical activity within Ballarat.

“As a city, we want girls growing up in our community to have the same opportunities, and the same culture of participation in sport as boys,” Cr McIntosh said.

“There should be no reason that any person, regardless of gender, cannot participate in sport and be active. We know sport and physical activity participation can play an important role in supporting gender equity, re-shape stereotypes, empower participants and support women and girls.

“This strategy provides us with a clear roadmap as to how that situation can be materially improved in our community.” In another celebration of the success of women in sport, Ballarat this week is also praising the efforts of the Western Bulldogs who beat Brisbane Lions on Saturday to become this year’s AFLW champions.

Cr McIntosh said there is no better inspiration for participation among young girls and women than witnessing female role models playing elite sport.

“Congratulations to the AFLW Bulldogs team in your grand final win, you’re amazing efforts are helping inspire our next generation of sports women,” she said.

“We are also extremely proud of our partnership with the Western Bulldogs which aims to provide our residents with access to many great community programs, such as the Daughters of the West program, to enhance.