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Women’s committee takes first steps towards brighter future

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The future is looking brighter for females of the sport in Victoria as Motorcycling Victoria, the State Controlling Body for motorcycle sport, recently formed a special Women's Committee to bring about sustainable cultural change to boost female participation in a sport largely engaged by males.

"With less than seven per cent of Victoria's membership-base consisting of female participants, MV has taken proactive steps to improve this area," MV's CEO Andrew Weiss said.

MV was awarded a grant from VicHealth in July 2011 to help make the sport more attractive to women and girls over the next three years. Since then MV has invested in a new full-time staff member to oversee the Female Participation Program, Peta Thomas.

The committee, which will be chaired by long-serving volunteer Christine Windham, will be largely responsible for identifying and improving specific areas of the sport, including officiating and coaching, and to ensure the ongoing development of Victoria's female riders.

Other members of the committee will include John Gillespie, Jessica Watkins, Lorraine Macdonald, Yvonne Barker, Jessica Harris, Fiona Collins, Jade Taylor, James Taylor and Rebecca Lipsett.

"Having been involved in motorcycling in Australia for nearly six years I have seen some reasonable efforts made to invest time, energy and resources into increasing female participation in the sport," Weiss continued.

"Not only are we hoping to boost numbers of females, from riders and officials to coaches and administrators, we also want to implement long-term change in regards to the perceptions around the roles of females within the sport.

"We now have an amazing opportunity to really make a difference, thanks to the VicHealth grant we received earlier in the year, and the creation of our Women's Committee will help facilitate ideas to ensure that the program heads in the right direction," Weiss added.

Two-time Australian Women's MX champion Kristy Gillespie, whose father is a committee member, is optimistic with the developments: "The formation of the Women's Committee is just the first step. There are a lot of enthusiastic members who want to see women's motorcycling in Victoria move forward," Gillespie remarked.

"This will help put our girls on the map."

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