SASI proves a major player for women's day of celebration

SASI proves a major player for women's day of celebration

International Women's Day will be celebrated around the world on March 8, SASI is getting behind the day locally to recognise its high-achieving women.

Equality and celebration will be at the forefront for many global organisations when they pay tribute to women on International Women's Day (IWD) on March 8.

IWD, always held on March 8 throughout the world, celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women. This year's global theme is ''Be Bold for Change'', while the Australian campaign is ''Make it Happen 2017''.

Locally, the South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) will salute its outstanding women, whether on the elite sporting fields or in support areas such as coaching, sport program delivery, performance services, consultancy work or university students on work placements.

Lorinda Rugless, SASI's High Performance Manager, has seen the support for women in various fields improve in recent years. Originally from Adelaide, Lorinda has worked with Archery Australia and overseas with the International Cricket Council.

She said there had been improvements in many areas for women.

"Although there is still some some work to do I think there is a strong movement and certainly a push in numbers to provide more opportunities for women,'' she said.

"Being more flexible in the workforce and understanding how tough it is for women to juggle a working life and raising kids is improving. I see women's sport in Australia being a lot more progressive and there are more opportunities in the area of growth. I think the introduction of the professional leagues for women has been great.''

Jess Trengove, 29, two-times Olympian (London, Rio) in the women's marathon, already is regarded as a role model for many athletes - men and women.

"International Women's Day has done so many great things for women over many years,'' she said.

"I can remember speaking at an IWD function in 2011 and told the group that women could not run in the marathon before 1984 because it could hurt their bodies. I have been so greatful for the opportunities I have had. In the past 18 months it has been phenomenal the chances women in the workplace and sport have had.''

Jess also said the introduction of the SA Women in Sport Taskforce, chaired by MP Katrine Hildyard and backed by local icons such as Marg Ralston, was a winner.

"Their efforts have been profound, pushing for women's causes and setting the bar really high.''

Jess, a Taskforce board member, also praised SASI's suport for her - from the track and behind the scenes.

"They have been fantastic for me,'' she said. "I have been there since the end of 2012 and really enjoyed the group when I am training -always approachable and very helpful.''

Cat McArthur, 24, has been with the SASI Canoe Sprint program for four years after relocating from Victoria.

"Since being with SASI I have never had to worry about gender issues or anything like that,'' she said.

"And the opportunities I have had from not having to worry about money to getting equal chances is what I love most about SASI and people like Sarah Woolford (Sports Physiologist) who is inspiring. Having her is an absolute treasure.

"International Women's Day, for me, is about acknowledging the incredible sacrifices for women by women.''

Verayna Zilm, 18, a member of the SASI rowing team, does not have to look far for her inspiration.

"I train with the SASI squad and mainly with the boys,'' she said.

"Even though I am the only female out there they are very supportive and all expectations are the same.

''But the girl I do train with when I can is Olympia Aldersey. She has had such a big influence on me and is such a nice person and so supportive of up-and-coming athletes.''

Verayna said International Women's Day was an important day for reflection.

"I think women's achievements, mainly in sport, have become more publicised,'' she said.

"I think there has been stronger media coverage with women's sport, particularly in women's football.''

Many women will celebrate IWD on Friday, March 10, at a sold-out breakfast at the Adelaide Convention Centre.