• Western Bulldog player Steph Chiocci part of the new campaign launched today which sees AFL, ARU, Netball & NRL unite to stop violence against women (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Netball Australia, NRL, AFL and the ARU have joined forces with Our Watch to stop violence against women.
Rachel de Bear

Australian Rugby Union
17 Jun 2016 - 2:52 PM  UPDATED 17 Jun 2016 - 2:53 PM

Netball Australia, NRL, AFL and the ARU are teaming up with Our Watch in its aim to change behaviours that lead to violence against women. 

Today the CEO of each sport publicly signed a leadership statement to commit to:

  • promoting women's participation and opportunities
  • challenging stereotypes and violence supportive attitudes
  • encouraging respectful, healthy and equal relationships

Or as Wallaby Will Skelton puts it in the above promotional video "ending violence against women begins with respect and equal opportunities for men and women."

“The sporting community has a huge opportunity to play an important role in preventing violence against women and their children,” Our Watch Chief Executive Officer Mary Barry said. 

“Sporting codes, clubs and organisations bring together large numbers of people and are a ready-made environment to promote women’s participation and opportunities to eliminate gender-based discrimination and violence-supportive attitudes.

“I commend Australian Rugby, AFL, NRL and Netball Australia for using their collective influence to assist in preventing the high rates of violence against women in Australia,” Ms Barry said.

"Our sports have a huge collective reach. All of us here today are advocating for greater female participation in sport from the grassroots to the boardroom," Bill Pulver, ARU CEO said. 

“While supporting our females in rugby we will also support and educate our boys and men in the rugby community to ensure their behaviours and decisions are underpinned by respect. 

"Whether on the field, in the office or at the pub, simple things like telling your friends and colleagues that sexist jokes are not funny can make a difference to the culture that currently trivialises violence against women,” said Pulver.

The campaign will use #equalplayingfield on social media, a theme picked up in the promotional video where athletes challenge the audience to question stereotypes:

"Instead of asking me what I'm wearing, ask me about the tackle I just made." Chloe Dalton, Aussie 7s. 

"I want to be known as an athlete, not a female athlete." Caitlin Thwaites, Diamond. 

"Instead of being surprised that i play professional rugby, why not come watch me." Sharni Williams, Aussie 7s.