Bulldogs Chair, Lynne Anderson, has received one of the most prestigious awards in Australian sport after being presented with the Women’s Health Award for Person of Sporting Influence at a ceremony in Alexandria, Sydney last night.
The award is given to a person who has shown exceptional support of women in sport and who has fought to change the perception of female athletes in the general public, in addition to raising public awareness of the progress being made by women in sport at all levels.
Anderson, who has had sport running through her veins her whole life, has been a major contributor to the progress of female athletes through her role as CEO of Paralympics Australia and more recently has been a major driving force behind the development of opportunities for female rugby league players as the Chair of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
On receiving the award Anderson said how honoured she felt to have been recognised :
“What an honour it is to receive this recognition. Throughout my entire life, sport has been a passion of mine and what most people don’t know is the passion has only grown since joining the Paralympic movement. Its potential to empower individuals is boundless.
We’re fortunate to be in a new era of sport. One that can be used to change perceptions and amplify voices.
I see this every day through my work at Paralympics Australia when it comes to disability, but I also see it through the work of every female athlete and sports administrator I have the pleasure of working with.
When we watch women in sport, or see a female at the helm of an organisation, these women are challenging stereotypes and transforming attitudes. For me personally, my mum unconsciously did this. She wasn’t an athlete nor an administrator, she was a stay-at-home mum raising 9 children, yet she knew more about sport than any man I know. Together with Dad they put Sport at the heart of our family, and introduced us to our beautiful Bulldogs family. To have found my Paralympic family in the last few years is another incredible road I have travelled - I’m truly blessed.
These women are helping increase inclusion by breaking down social barriers and discrimination.
I think about the story of Australia’s first female Paralympian Daphne Ceeney.
It’s really impossible for me to comprehend the drive and focus to get to where she was. She was the only female member of the first Australian Paralympic Team and she turned around and won more medals than anyone else.
That to me, should never be forgotten. Nor should it stop inspiring future females in sport.
Fast forward to 2019 and we have Daniela Di Toro. Six Paralympic Games and still competing and chasing her sporting dreams. She’s making her presence felt within the greater sports sector now, as Vice President of the Paralympics Australia Athlete Commission and also our Athlete Wellbeing Engagement Officer.
It’s women like them that are leaving a mark for future female leaders and people of influence.
While we’ve come so far in giving recognition to women over the years, I also see how much further we can go together.
I’m honoured to be named a Person of Sporting Influence, for making a contribution to changing the perception of women in sport.
But I firmly believe it is up to EVERYONE who works in sport, not just one gender identity, to give each other a stronger voice to continue the momentum.
It’s only then, that we’ll achieve equity.”