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Historic Milestone as Women Outnumber Men in Warrnambool Gift

A Testament to the Victorian Athletic League's Commitment to Equality and Diversity.

Matthew McDonough - VAL President

Melbourne, Victoria – In a landmark moment for the Victorian Athletic League (VAL), the Warrnambool Gift, scheduled for Saturday, December 2023, has made history as women outnumber men in the 120m feature Gift events. With 10 more women entries than men, this milestone underscores the league's dedication to fostering gender equity within the sport.

This significant development comes on the heels of recent changes within the Victorian Athletic League to ensure more opportunities for female athletes and to establish equal prize money across all events held throughout the season, including the prestigious Stawell Gift.

Taylah Perry, a regular participant and the Executive Officer of the Victorian Athletic League, expressed her enthusiasm for the growing female participation, stating, "The growth in female participation across the Victorian Athletic League has been exceptional, especially among our junior members where new female participants have outpaced their male counterparts. With our expanding female junior demographic, we aim to continue providing more opportunities for female athletes, as our recent data shows a substantial increase in participation when we do so."

Professional running has historically been male dominated, with minimal female participation until the 1990s when females were finally granted their own races, a century after the sport's inception. The recent mandate by the Victorian Athletic League ensures equal prize money for all events. Ms. Perry is optimistic about the upcoming season, noting, "Membership is increasing year on year, and we now have 21 events on our season calendar, with athletes competing for over $500,000 in prize money."

While celebrating the positive signs of increased female participation, Ms. Perry emphasised the league's ongoing commitment to promoting equity and diversity across its membership and events.

The Victorian Athletic League season, spanning from October to the Easter weekend, culminates with the iconic Stawell Gift. Events are held throughout Victoria, featuring races ranging from 70m up to 3200m, and include junior, open, and masters' categories.

This historic moment at the Warrnambool Gift serves as a testament to the Victorian Athletic League's dedication to advancing the sport of athletics and ensuring an inclusive and diverse environment for all participants.

For more information on the Victorian Athletic League and its events, please visit www.val.org.au

Photo - JamesonsPhotography, Neil Jameson 2023 Warrnambool 120m Womens Gift Final

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