Ready to raise your game? Right now, South Australian sports clubs of all levels can get involved in a new education program fostering respect and gender equality. We spoke to Adelaide United Captain Isabel Hodgson to learn more.
What is Raiise?
Raiise is a new Respectful Club Environments Program, which aims to promote gender equality and respectful behaviour in sport. It educates club members about how they can play an active role in promoting change and challenging gender stereotypes – both in their sports club and their community.
This pioneering program aims to ensure the next generation of female champions can rise through the ranks with support and respect equal to their male counterparts, and that all women and girls can enjoy playing, coaching or administrating sport. In the longer term, Raiise aims to spread gender equality across the community and contribute to the reduction of violence against women and girls.
Why the strange spelling?
No, it’s not a typo – it’s a deliberate choice to challenge the norms and create a visual representation of what the program’s all about. The double “I” stands as a visual representation of two stick figures standing together side by side, without gender, hierarchy or rank. This is a graphic that symbolises and encapsulates Raiise’s message of unity, harmony, strength and equality.
Why we need Raiise
Violence against women is sadly a big problem in Australia, and the statistics speak for themselves (source: Australian Government):
- One in three women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15.
- One in five women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15.
- One in four women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner.
- Sixty-eight per cent of women who had children in their care when they experienced violence stated their children had also experienced violence.
- On average, one woman is killed by an intimate partner every seven days.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience violence at higher rates than non-indigenous women.
How Raiise helps
There’s been a lot of discussion in the local media lately about what can be done to make the violence stop. The underlying cause of violence against women is gender inequality, so Raiise is on a mission to tackle that inequality through education – ultimately making our sports clubs and communities safer places for everyone and reducing violence against women and girls. It’s an important program that could have a powerful effect in the long term if enough clubs embrace it.
Developed by the State Government’s Office for Women, Raiise includes the rollout of educational workshops to more than 50 sports clubs across the state over the coming months, and everyone’s invited to get involved – from the pros to the grassroots players. Setting an example they hope other clubs will follow, Adelaide United players – both men and women – took part in the first educational workshop as part of the Raiise program.
What Raiise means to a pro athlete
Adelaide United Captain Isabel Hodgson says she found the Raiise workshop powerful, and the statistics about violence against women were really eye-opening. “Adelaide United as role models know that they have to set an example – and this workshop helped with that,” Isabel says.
“For our men’s team, it means they’re now aware that if they’re not speaking up about something disrespectful that they see or they’re not seeming fully inclusive, then young boys could look up to that and then continue that way of life.”
“For us women, we need to stand together and be strong in our fight against inequality and that hopefully inspires young girls to do the same as well.”
The battle for equality
“As female athletes, we’re always going to be fighting for equality,” says Isabel. “And, at the moment, we’re not quite there yet. But at least we’re making some steps and some progress.”
“When I first started playing for Adelaide United, we weren’t paid to play. It wasn’t a career choice – it was seen as a hobby for us,” she says. “We had to really fight for payments and any kind of money. We were still giving the same amount of time as the men were, we just weren’t being reimbursed for that.
“We’ve also fought for training grounds and for good quality fields to play games on, but now we’re a fully professional club and team, paid for the time and the effort we put in. We’re still not known or paid quite as much as the male players are, but that’s the direction that things are going. And that’s what we’re still always striving for.”
The power of sport
Isabel urges sports clubs around the state to sign up for a Raiise workshop to make their communities safer.
“Australia’s sporting clubs are definitely central points for communities,” she says. “They’re not just where a lot of people are being trained as athletes, they’re where a lot of people grow up, and that’s how they become who they are. You spend a lot of after school hours and weekends at the club, and it shapes you as a person.
“So if your club isn’t respectful of gender equality, or challenging stereotypes, or creating that respectful environment, then that seeps into the players and into you, and then that can ultimately affect who you become.”
The workshop to ‘raiise’ your game
The Raiise workshop is a free, 90-minute immersive session tailored to suit everyone in South Australian sporting clubs – from board members, coaches and players to volunteers, parents and supporters. A trained facilitator will come to your club to run the workshop and provide essential knowledge and skills. They’ll deliver crucial insights, explore unconscious bias, talk you through positive bystander intervention and more.
The workshop is designed to leave you with everything you need to create a positive and inclusive club environment while contributing to the prevention of domestic and family violence in the wider community. Think of it as another part of your training – the workshop will teach you the skills for change, and then it’s up to everyone involved in your club to practise those skills over time until we reach equality. If you’re ready to ‘raiise’ your game, you can sign up online.
Learn more about Raiise and sign up here.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic and family violence, reach out to the Domestic Violence Crisis Line (24 hours) at 1800 800 098 or 1800RESPECT (24 hours) at 1800 737 732.