Women in Rowing

A few years ago, it was recognised that there were no female Queensland coaches that were actively nominating for state teams. This led to a number of individuals asking why? There are no doubt many reasons, but some relevant data highlighting an issue, was the even split of female coaches to male that are accredited in level 1 and then the drastic drop in female accreditation in level 2. For a number of reasons, girls are not remaining in coaching in large numbers that then offers a pathway to more senior positions.

A committee called ‘Allies for Women In Rowing’ chaired by Emma McCarthy from Stuartholme, has been set up that pursues opportunities in rowing for our girls that extend beyond being in the boat. Opportunities that offer some pathways for career or interest or just community involvement. There are some initiatives that will be shared here. 


The Brisbane Schoolgirls’ Rowing Association (BSRA) provides a competitive rowing experience in a structured and supportive environment that reflects the values of its ten member schools. We conduct a quality, competitive and team orientated rowing regatta program where students and coaches interact to encourage physical, emotional, ethical and social development within the association and the wider sporting community. We aim for our rowing competition to be fun for all and to foster social connection and inclusion that emanates from opportunities in sport.

The ‘Women In Rowing’ initiative is intrinsic to the values of the ten member schools and to the overall mission of the BSRA.


A Women in Rowing committee has recently been set up chaired by Stuartholme Coordinator Emma McCarthy. Initiatives will be introduced and communicated that fulfil the following criteria:

  1. Policy
    1. Implement policies relating to equality, inclusion, recognition of female rowing community
    2. Adopt a culture of “the standard you walk past is the standard you accept”
    3. Accountability and respect across all levels of the sport
    4. Remove barriers to success for women
    5. Increase participation in female rowing
    6. Encourage RQ to implement KPI’s around female representation across all levels of Board, SSO/School/Club Administration, High Performance, Participation
    7. Challenge tradition and encourage adaptability
  2. Mentoring
    1. Organise opportunities for Action Group to connect with current and future rowers, coxes, coaches, club leaders, Rowing Directors, administrators in QLD
    2. Provide development opportunities – internships, workshops, events, etc
    3. Provide support for athletes transitioning in their rowing career – coaching, university, work etc.
  3. Education
    1. Deliver workshops/provide training opportunities to increase the skill/knowledge of QLD female coaches.
    2. Provide practical workshops in areas like rigging/pitching.
    3. Identify barriers in delivering coach accreditation courses in Queensland.
    4. Act as mentors for Level 2/3 Accreditation
    5. Research appropriate resources/grants to increase access to accreditation
    6. Identify solutions to allow females to coach rowing as a viable career option
  4. Pathways
    1. Work with policy committee to implement pathways and fair selection policies for females – rowers, coxes, coaches, club leaders, Rowing Directors, administrators.
    2. Project – BSRA to Club pathway. Regional School to Club pathway. Club to High Performance.
    3. Identify barriers to retention in sport
  5. Promotion/Marketing
    1. Storytelling
    2. Highlight the sport of rowing and women’s contributions
    3. Reward & recognise success
  6. Connection & Support
    1. Provide opportunities for women to access support, guidance, knowledge, advice
    2. Develop reporting systems, discussion forums or similar to address poor behaviour (1b)
    3. Engagement – activities, camps, projects, networking events
    4. Identify ways to connect schools and clubs
    5. Develop partnerships and advocates
  7. Fundraising
    1. Events / experiences
    2. Sponsors
    3. Bursaries / Grants