Paid PostPosted on 20 May 201912 Things Only Women Who Play Male-Dominated Sports Will UnderstandSisters are doing it for themselves.by SuncorpBrand PublisherFacebookPinterestTwitterMailLink 1. There's a role in the team for everybody – including you. UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs "In AFL, there are 18 players on the field, which means there's a role for everyone," says AFL coach Jemma Stillobans. "Girls from all different backgrounds and levels of experience can figure out which positions suit them best, and how they can contribute to the team." 2. But sometimes, you have to be the change you want to see. Hornsby Rugby Club "I was really inspired by the Australian Women's Rugby 7s win at the 2016 Olympics," says Alex Bellamy. "They made me realise that rugby was something I could do, too." "My local team didn't have a girl's side, so I decided to make one. I sent out a few emails, pulled together a group of girls, and the rest is history!" 3. You learn how to use your body in new ways. Hornsby Rugby Club "For me, being in a contact sport and learning how to tackle gave me a new understanding of how to use my body," says Alex. "It's a massive thing for a woman to try a contact sport, since socially, we're not used to it." 4. And that's incredibly empowering. Natalia Krslovic "Since starting Brazilian jiu jitsu and developing an understanding of how to defend myself in threatening situations, I feel more physically empowered," says Natalia Krslovic. "I feel more confident facing everyday challenges, like walking home alone at night." 5. You'll have to overcome some gender stereotypes. Jemma Stillobans / UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs "When we first started, our AFL club didn't take us that seriously," says Jemma. "But when we took out the comp and performed better than the men's side, they started to invest more in us and in our development." 6. And sometimes, those will come from other women. Laura Sullivan "When I was at school, I used to play basketball with the boys at lunch time," says Laura. "There was a group of girls that bullied me about playing with the boys instead of hanging out with them." "In this instance, it was other girls who were shaming me for breaking gender stereotypes – the guys couldn't care less!" 7. You'll be pushed beyond your comfort zone. Natalia Krslovic "Training with people who are bigger and stronger than you – especially men – can be intimidating," says Natalia. "But pushing through that fear builds your own sense of self-worth and self-respect." "It also earns respect from your training partners, too." 8. And that is definitely a good thing. Natalia Krslovic "Getting beat up at jiu jitsu isn't fun for the ego, but it's taught me resilience and mental toughness," says Natalia. "It's definitely made me a stronger, more self-assured person, and that's helped me in my career and in my relationships.""It's also nice when all your hard work pays off and you win a medal or two." 9. The guys are there to support you. Hornsby Rugby Club "The guys at our club have been great with developing our team," says Alex. "They treat us like all the other players, and really want to see us get better. They're always coaching us and giving us tips." 10. And they'll often lean on you, too. myBJJ "One of the best things about joining a Brazilian jiu jitsu club is all the male friendships I've made," says Natalia. "It's helped me work through a lot of the subconscious gender biases I've had. I've also been able to support them through interpersonal issues that they might not open up to their mates about." 11. You have to be in the culture if you want to change it. Hornsby Rugby Club "Having women in leadership is important," says Alex. "As the VP of the Hornsby Rugby Club, I'm the female voice when it comes to things like sharing resources equitably and using the correct language and behaviour." "To their credit, the guys are really open to learning how to behave more inclusively." 12. And through all these experiences, your self-confidence skyrockets. Hornsby Rugby Club "A big barrier for women getting into rugby is their perception of themselves because they don't think they can do it," says Alex. "Once they give it a go, fall in love with the game and see themselves getting better, their confidence soars." Sport builds confidence for life. Find out how Suncorp’s Team Girls program is helping to build a nation of confident girls.