Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 1993



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 1993

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Parliamentary Record 21


Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Thursday 21 Oc tober 1993 of my sons was involved in that and in the MacDonald's Squad in Tennant Creek. I believe some people are still very active in that regard, but that was an outstanding period for Tennant Creek and the Barkly, largely due to the participation, involvement and encouragement of 2 people who have now left Tennant Creek. I refer to David and Janice Rowlands who gave a great deal of their time and effort to sporting activities, especially Janice who encouraged the junior participants. Despite the increasing participation of women in what have been seen traditionally as some male sports, there is still some lingering opposition to that involvement. It is that aspect that we need to overcome. Frequently nowadays, women may wish to take up a sport which previously has been regarded as the province of males only, but they have first to overcome the objections of the men involved. Here I will cite an example from an article that appeared in the Tennant & District Times of 13 August. It is headed: 'Women Give Footballers A Run for Their Ball': Local women are giving footballers a run for their ball. Fed up with cheering from the sidelines, the closet Aussie Rulers have banded together to come out of hiding. The problem is they are not so sure that their talent matches their enthusiasm. At least they are honest about it! 'None of us can play for nuts', said one of the organisers, Deanna O'Donnell, 'but there is probably enough of us for 2 teams so we are giving it a go'. The women will make their debut next Saturday as a curtain-raiser to the men's preliminary finals. 'We want to challenge the juniors', one of their participants said. And this is the telling aspect of it, Mr Speaker: They all think it is a shame job, so we will probably end up playing the Ali Curung juniors, keep it as a surprise and tell them when they get into town. Perhaps we can understand that the men's teams might feel that it is a bit of a shame job, given the fact that these women are, by their own admission, rank amateurs. However, on a more serious note, that is a difficulty that women come up against when they want to take up what has been seen traditionally as a male sport. That is an area that deserves attention in terms of the policy that the minister has presented to us. While women are not always regarded as worthy to compete in male-oriented sports, if they participate competently their very success may prove to be a double-edged sword in that they may find themselves regarded at times with a degree of suspicion. Since 1968, women who compete in international athletics contests have had to submit to a chromosomal sex test that is known to be flawed. In 1985, the Spanish hurdler, Maria Patino, discovered that, according to her genes, she was not a woman. She was sent home in disgrace from the particular competition. Later, the test was proven wrong. However, the underlying message in all this is very clear. It is that, if you are good at this sport, you cannot be a real woman. It is a fact that, after puberty, the level of participation in sport by girls falls off. Those who persevere learn either to ignore the sexual putdowns or to avoid them by exaggerating their sexuality. I guess that, in some quarters, homophobia is used as one more weapon to keep women out of 10 179

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