It might sound like a small detail but consider this: many local women’s footy and cricket teams are playing in second-hand gear from the boys. Not only are they a poor fit, they often don’t meet uniform regulations, putting aspiring female athletes on the back foot from the get-go.
The impact runs far deeper than aesthetics. Using hand-me-down uniforms and equipment reinforces the entrenched belief that women’s sport is second in priority to the men’s. On the flipside, specially designed gear empowers players and sends a strong message: women’s sport is worth the investment.
Spreading the love
As a company, Toyota has long been a supporter of women in sport through tangible initiatives that actively promote and develop the advancement of female athletes. It’s this very real, roll-up-your-sleeves support that makes a big difference to clubs and individuals at a grassroots level and beyond.
Toyota first identified this resources issue in local women’s cricket teams, which were often using retired kit handed down from the men’s sides. So, Toyota launched its Good for Cricket Kits initiative in December 2019, donating $150,000 worth of equipment to local women’s teams.
The kits, including pads, bats, balls, gloves, helmets and wickets, are an important extension of Toyota’s long-running Good for Cricket raffles, which have raised over $3 million for grassroots cricket since 2012.
“Our annual Good for Cricket raffle has helped thousands of community cricket clubs across the country, but one of the things we have found is that the girls sometimes lacked the confidence to continue to develop their cricket skills, despite their passion for the game,” explained Toyota Chief Marketing Officer Wayne Gabriel. “Part of that came from often having to use inappropriate or oversized equipment so this is a step towards helping address gender equality in cricket and inspire the next generation of Australian women’s test champions.”
This year, as the official automotive sponsor for the AFLW and community partner for the code, Toyota was inspired to bring this initiative to local women’s footy, too, with the Good for Footy Gear campaign. Not only will the injection of fresh gear immediately benefit 100 teams around the country and encourage more women to participate in the game, the uniforms will become a tangible legacy at local clubs, helping to ensure the longevity of women’s footy. It’s one practical step closer to Toyota’s overarching vision of “mobility for all”.
Providing uniforms isn’t the only way Toyota is helping grow the women’s AFL game from the roots up. Since 2008, Toyota’s Good for Footy Program has been supporting community clubs around Australia, and last year the Good for Footy raffle program – which empowers clubs to raise their own funds via raffles to win Toyota prizes – generated almost $400,000 for local AFL clubs. Funds like these can make a huge difference in providing the resources needed to offer training and attract more players to local women’s teams.
Mobility for All
Now, in this Olympic year as a worldwide sponsor of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Toyota continues to move forward with their vision of ‘Mobility for All’ through their initiative to remove barriers to participation for all athletes on the road to Toyko and beyond.
Having partnered with the Women’s Health Women in Sport campaign for the last four years, Toyota knows firsthand what incredible goals can be achieved when there’s a level playing field for all. We can’t wait to see how this latest initiative from Toyota drives women’s sport even further forward. Game on!