“It’s about seeing the person”

Ahmed Kelly

On January 23rd 2024, CMSport was a key partner in delivering the annual Diversity and Inclusion in Sport Alliance (DISA) Forum. The 2024 DISA Forum: Intersectionality in Sport, welcomed Sports CEOs and administrators, DEI practitioners and some of the best of humanity to Wurundjeri country, and virtually around to globe, for a discussion on how sport can best understand the concept of intersectionality and apply this to improving the connection of marginalised communities to sport and active recreation.

Over breakfast, CEOs heard from Kieren Perkins OAM, Leon Doyle, Andrea Pearman and Kate Nuttall as they encouraged the sector to embrace intersectionality, and shift the narrative of Diversity and Inclusion from ‘the right thing to do’ to a strategic conversation that makes it a business imperative.

At the Forum, more than 200 attendees in person and 700 online tuned into the heart of the discussion revolved around recognising that inequality in sports stems not from individual intentions but from systemic, institutional, and structural barriers. Attendees engaged in conversations on how intersectionality can serve as a powerful analytical tool to dismantle these barriers and foster a more inclusive sporting environment, as well as learnt that we can all take personal responsibility to ensure we “don’t just come to the table to listen, but come to rearrange it.” – Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli AM.

Jacara Egan emphasised the significance of approaching this work with “love and connectedness”, highlighting the importance of empathy in fostering true inclusion.

Aligning with the Australian Open All Abilities Day, attendees witnessed firsthand the strides made by Tennis Australia in creating, arguably, one of the world’s most inclusive sporting experiences, showcasing practical steps toward inclusivity in action. The event featured an array of esteemed speakers including Craig Tiley, Maria Dimopoulos, Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli AM, Teuila Reid, Jessica Crofts, Radmila Dyson, Ahmed Kelly, Jacara Egan and Kate Jenkins AO. An extended thanks to facilitators Beau Newell and Shelley Ware for their role in guiding such stimulating discussions.

The annual DISA Forum serves as a beacon of collaboration among organisations and individuals committed to enhancing accessibility in sports and recreation, including CMSport, Play by the Rules, Pride in Sport, Monash University, Victoria University, Office of Sport, Department of Tourism and Sport, Australian Sports Commission and Tennis Australia.

“No Socceroos were harmed in the making of the Matildas!”

Kate Jenkins AO

Publications mentioned on the day for some further reading:

Crenshaw, Kimberlé “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics,” University of Chicago Legal Forum: Vol. 1989: Iss. 1, Article 8 – chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/uclf/vol1989/iss1/8

Sojourner Truth “Ain’t I a Woman” Women’s Convention, Akron, Ohio 1851
Diversity Council Australia “A note on language: Culturally and Racially Marginalised Women at work” 2023 – dca.org.au/a-note-on-language-culturally-and-racially-marginalised-women-at-work

Aileen Moreton-Robinson “Talkin’ Up to the White Woman,” Published 2000

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023: Human Rights Risk Assessment – humanrights.gov.au/our-work/business-and-human-rights/projects/fifa-womens-world-cup-2023-human-rights-risk-assessment