Delivering on two fronts
Stacia realised that you can grow your family and career, writes Fiona Bollen
YOU can’t be what you can’t see.
That line rings true in most facets of women’s sport and for Stacia Joseph, who played 42 games for the Hockeyroos and is now women’s coach at the Victorian Institute of Sport, it almost stopped her from taking the next step in her career.
Joseph is one of eight high performance female coaches who took part in the AIS’s development program at the Commonwealth Games.
It’s only since being there, among other women in her position and with mentors Peggy Liddick (gymnastics), Ellen Randell (rowing) and Tracey Menzies (swimming), that she realised she can have her coaching career and grow her small family, too.
It’s a different sentiment to when she fell preg- nant with her daughter Charlotte last year and thought she may have to give it away.
“I did for sure,’’ Joseph said. “I think, because there wasn’t another that had done it before me. So I kind of didn’t know of anyone who had done it and it hadn’t been publicised.
“I’m still breastfeeding and it’s been no issue in making me feel anxious about that in that I can’t be at everything or do everything. They just said ‘do what you need to do, if you need to jump out of a session, no problem, go feed then come back and pick up where you left off’.’’
AIS deputy director of performance people Darlene Harrison was surprised with what they learned in the program.
Though the number of female coaches for benchmark events in Australia have steadied at 11 to 12 per cent, Harrison said the turnover of women is incredibly high — about 70 per cent.
At the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, 90 per cent of coaches were male.
So, say, for simple mathematics’ sake, there were 100 coaches, only about three of the 10 female coaches would have still been around at the Gold Coast Games just gone.
Their sessions during the program are helping them understand why.
“One of the things we really explored is women really value networks,” Harrison said.
“When they were at their most vulnerable was when they weren’t connected and often that was when they are travelling overseas … it was really important they grow global networks and broader ones.’’
Factors such as pay and female socialisation are big obstacles, according to Harrison. But since their time on the Gold Coast, a focal point will be ensuring there are role models and support for these women so they aren’t lost to the system.
Stacia Joseph and Charlotte. Picture: Michael Klein