The Long Game: Women in Sport Today

The Long Game: Women in Sport Today

How are ideas, and our expectations, around gender and sport evolving? And how does sport inform our sense of self? Who gets to play, and who gets to win, in the field of sports?

In an outstanding new essay collection, Balancing Acts: Women in Sport, a dream-team of Australia’s finest writers, including Ellen van Neerven, Tegan Higginbotham, Nicole Hayes and Kate Doak, wrestle with these questions and more. The essays explore the ways women and non-binary people negotiate a traditionally male-dominated space, with topics ranging from sexualisation in surf culture to marginalisation in boxing, and the vast power imbalance between athletes and coaches.

At the Wheeler Centre, these contributors discuss shifting perspectives and shifting goal-posts in gender and sport.


Portrait of Nicole Hayes

Nicole Hayes

Nicole Hayes is an award winning author and one-sixth of the award winning AFL podcast/radio show, The Outer Sanctum (on the ABC). Her debut novel, The Whole of My World, a #MeToo novel about a teenage girl obsessed with footy, was longlisted for the Gold Inky award and helped inspire The Outer Sanctum. With Alicia Sometimes, she co-edited an anthology, From the Outer: Footy Like You’ve Never Heard It (2016), and A Footy Girl’s Guide to the Stars of 2017. Her most recent novel, A Shadow’s Breath, was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Award, and One True Thing won the Children’s Peace Literature Award. She runs workshops and public events with a focus on writing, gender and sport. 

Portrait of Ellen van Neerven

Ellen van Neerven

Ellen van Neerven is Mununjali from the Yugambeh language group of South East Queensland on her mother’s side. Her first book Heat and Light (UQP, 2014) was the recipient of the David Unaipon Award, the Dobbie Literary Award and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Indigenous Writers Prize. Heat and Light was also shortlisted for the Stella Prize, the Queensland Literary Award for State Significance and the Readings Prize. Ellen was named as a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist in 2015. 

Portrait of Tegan Higginbotham

Tegan Higginbotham

Tegan Higginbotham is a writer, actress and comedian.  

For the past four years, she’s been a regular columnist for the Sunday Age Sport.  Tegan’s writing credits also include Open Slather (Comedy Channel), Little  Lunch (ABC),, and Fernwood Magazine.  

Her acting credits include Oddball, Holding the ManIt’s A DateNowhere Boys and the tv series Molly. Tegan is also known for making regular appearances on The ProjectWhose Line is it Anyway?Have You Been Paying Attention?, Show Me The Movie, Whovians and ABC News Breakfast.

Portrait of Kate Doak

Kate Doak

Kate Doak is a freelance investigative journalist and documentary producer, who is based in Sydney, Australia. Often described as a 'policy wonkette' and an 'old school newshound' as a result of her journalistic endeavours, Kate is also highly regarded within Australian politics as an advocate of both mental health and LGBTI rights.

Listen to The Long Game: Women in Sport Today