Tennis ACT is set to introduce their vision for Women and Girls as part of the overall commitment of Tennis Australia towards the inclusion and empowerment of women in tennis on Thursday, January 27th at Weston Creek Tennis Club.
Led by former professional player Alison Bai, the Women and Girls Lead for Tennis ACT and Region, the aim is to support tennis’s objective of no limitations for women and girls on and off the court.
“The goal is to present our commitment, principles and vision in the women and girls space along with key focus areas and outcomes for the plan,” says Bai. “The vision is to enrich the playing experience of women and girls by creating safe, inclusive and welcoming environments that value and empower women and girls.”
Future plans in the space will be influential in creating an equal voice for women and in ensuring volunteer pathways and the availability of career opportunities on and off the court. They will also look to create sustainable networks that advance and inspire women to be a public voice for tennis from grassroots through to the world stage.
Showcasing the commitment to women and girls in the sport, Thursday also includes the first day of the EmpowerHER camp, a two-day camp for girls aged eight and up at the Weston Creek venue. The camp will bring girls together to socialise and have fun in an inclusive and safe team environment, with flexible participation for girls to learn and have a sense of mastery with what is being delivered.
“Research has shown that girls who participate in sport are physically and socially stronger, have been shown to be happier, have higher levels of resilience, more positive attitudes towards school work and are more likely to feel ‘strong.’ Women and girls are central to shaping and influencing tennis in Australia, and therefore creating these opportunities will enable women and girls to feel empowered and valued on and off the court,” shares Bai.
“Tennis helps with building confidence by creating a sense of achievement and independence. It can provide new experiences, allow for the building of and mastery of new skills, and these programs provide a safe environment to connect with new people and make new friends.”
The camp is being run by Canberra School of Tennis and the curriculum of the two days has been created to provide a holistic approach to the sport. Participants will create their own diaries, share in positive affirmations and quotes, be involved in partner-based activities, circuit activities, competitive and non-competitive games of tennis.
Tennis Australia has a strategic commitment to be a global leader in inclusion and diversity and has developed a national Women and Girls initiative. Designed to improve access and opportunity to achieve gender equality in the sport, efforts to drive the plan include the introduction of state and territory Women and Girls Leads such as Bai, and a Women and Girls Gender Equality Taskforce comprising highly credentialed leaders in business and sport to provide expert advice.
The local drive towards equality in the ACT is supported by Australian Open initiatives such as the AO Inspirational Series, an event celebrating women’s achievements and highlighting gender equality issues, and in 2022 a significant change to the scheduling of the women’s semi-finals.
Twelve years after the women’s final was moved to Saturday night (2009) the Australian Open is celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women first participating in the AO. To mark the occasion, the women’s semi-finals will move from their traditional Thursday afternoon slot to 7.30pm prime-time on Rod Laver Arena.
The Women and Girls introduction will be presented by Bai and will engage key stakeholders within the ACT and region and offer the chance for everyone to come together, meet and connect. The presentation is also taking place alongside the Open Court Session being held at the Weston Creek venue from 5.30-8.30pm, with the public invited to come have a hit on court and play the social way, enjoying food, drinks and with equipment supplied. Participants will also be able to enjoy the women’s semi-finals in prime-time on a big screen on site broadcasting all the action.
The EmpowerHER camp will be held from 3-7pm on Thursday January 27th and Friday January 28th with coach Mark Walton and his team, led by Holly Nolan. For further information on the camp, including registration, visit www.cost.com.au/empowerher-camp.html or email [email protected].
Schedule for Women and Girls Day, Thursday January 27 – Weston Creek Tennis Club
3pm-7pm – EmpowerHER camp
5pm – Women and Girls Plan introduction
5.30-8.30pm – Open Court Session
7.30pm – Women’s semi-finals screened live on the big screen