We’re often told by people that sports are for men and women, and we often think we have to compete in order to play sports.
It’s this way of thinking that creates barriers to women’s participation in sport, says Laura Hutton, founder and executive director of the National Association of Sportswomen.
But, in fact, it’s a mistake to think that women’s sport is simply a niche sport for men, says Hutton.
It needs to be inclusive and inclusive of all women, she says.
“The idea that women don’t need to compete to play is a fallacy.
I think that there is a real need for women’s sports, particularly women’s cycling, to be more inclusive.”
Cycling is a perfect example.
Women make up just 1.5 per cent of professional cyclists in Australia, according to the Australian Cycling Federation.
But it’s been a key part of Australian culture for more than a century.
In 1924, the Melbourne Amateur Cycling Club, founded by women, opened in the city.
Today, Melbourne’s cycling scene is home to more than 30 women’s teams, many of which are affiliated with the National Women’s Cycling Association.
A growing number of young women are also choosing to ride their bikes, says Hannah Bowers, founder of the Melbourne Women’s Cyclists Club.
“When I was younger, I was riding my bike to school, to the beach and the shopping centre,” she says, “so I’m a little bit of a woman cyclist, but I know there are lots of women who are cycling, too.”
The club has seen its membership grow to more that 70 people since its founding in 2008.
“A lot of the growth in membership has come because of women,” says Bowers.
“I think that’s because women have always been in the cycling world and women are now more active, more active than men.”
Cycling’s role in the Australian economy Women account for just 4 per cent or just 1 per cent on the Australian GDP, according a report from the Australian Institute of Public Policy Research.
But the number of women working in the sector is growing, says Bower.
“It’s about time we have more women in the industry and it’s also about time that we are working with women to encourage them to take up cycling as a career.”
Hutton believes women’s involvement in cycling is key to the success of the sport.
“Women are a natural fit in a sport where you have to adapt and adapt and I think there are many women who can do that,” she explains.
“There’s so much talent out there and it makes it so much easier for women to learn and do their jobs.”
Bowers says cycling has also been a significant part of the Australian landscape since it was first established.
“We’ve had women running for the first time in 1896 in Sydney,” she adds.
“That was a very big moment for cycling.
And the fact that women were able to run for the last time at the Sydney Olympics in 1900 is very significant.”