Female Umpiring Liasion Officers

With the increased participation of females into the umpiring fraternity, it has become important for local umpiring groups to ensure they are catering for the needs of females within their group and have the appropriate support structures in place for their female umpires.  Due to this, many groups around Australia are starting to implement a ‘Female Liaison Officer’.  This person is identified as someone young female umpires could go to for advice, support and experience.
 
Greg Sidebottom from the Goulbourn Valley Football Umpires Association talk’s afl.com.au through the role of his group’s ‘Female Liaison Officer’.
 
The Goulburn Valley Football Umpires Association has followed the trend of a lot of other umpiring groups across the country by attracting females to take on the challenge of umpiring. We now have in excess of 12 and their ages have varied from 12 to 60.
 
With umpiring being a male dominated pursuit for the past 150 years it was acknowledged that we had to be proactive and prepared for any gender issues that may arise.
 
A female ‘Liaison Officer’, Alisa McCrae, who is 32 years old, married and training to be a nurse was appointed to the position. Alisa was formally introduced to the entire group at our monthly meeting and her role explained. Alisa is both a Goal and Field Umpire who regularly trains with the running group, so was well placed to communicate regularly and comfortably with all our female members.
 
Alisa’s duties are:

  • Communicate with the female members on any issues that were worrying them
  • Monitor behaviour on the training track
  • Monitor behaviour during meetings
  • Monitor behaviour on match days
  • Provide regular feedback to the Head Coach

To assist Alisa in her position, the GVFUA also follows the following team rules:

  1. Zero tolerance to offensive language at all times
  2. Zero tolerance to sexist or offensive jokes
  3. Change room protocols 

Fortunately we have not experienced any issues. All members respect the rules and protocols for accepted behaviour and the language issue is now ‘self-policed’ by the group.

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