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GIRLS PLAY ON – Montag launches major project to empower girls


On Sunday 7 November at Caulfield Pavilion, Jemima Montag – Olympic racewalker, dual Commonwealth Games gold medallist and IOC Young Leader – launched her exciting new project, Play On, with the guidance and support of Maccabi Victoria to an exclusive audience of sport celebrities, coaches, team managers, teachers, parents, and students.

The morning began outside with an energising Yoga Flow session in the sun, hosted by Jemima’s sister, Piper Montag. The guests were then led upstairs where the atmosphere was electric with anticipation as Jemima began her presentation.

Jemima shared some harrowing stats: ‘Australian girls are dropping out of sport at twice the rate of boys, and one in five Victorian women are physically inactive. This multidimensional issue is a product of the built environment, culture, and health literacy – three focuses for the Girls Play On initiative.’

She then went on to introduce a revolutionary approach designed to enhance the health literacy of 12-18 year-old-girls in an engaging, informative and inspiring way – PLAY ON. Play On, is a four-module e-resource focused on: Female Athlete Health, Mental Health, Nutrition, and Inclusivity. Each module includes recorded presentations from women experts, from sports physicians to Olympians, dieticians, authors, and the Director of the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation. In 2023, partnerships with Maccabi Australia, the Victorian Institute of Sport, and School Sport Victoria will see Girls Play On expand to multiple sporting clubs nation-wide and Victorian schools, with an aim to reach 5,000 girls. A team of Olympian Girls Play On Ambassadors will visit the schools, creating visible role models and coaches and managers will be supported to deliver the modules.

After introducing her exciting project, and with an inspired audience, Jemima called up a panel of experts to discuss how we can begin supporting girls in sport. The panel included Dr Alice McNamara – Sport and Exercise Medicine Physician and two-time Rowing World Champion; Dr Georgie Buckley – dietician with experience in sports nutrition and disordered eating; and Monique Murphy PLY – Paralympian, Lifeline Community Custodian, QUENDO Ambassador, Minerva Network QLD EO and Share the Dignity Ambassador. The panel took questions from the audience and discussed body image, periods and sport, and other challenges to female participation in physical activity.

Jemima wrapped up the Launch with saying: ‘…by changing the game for girls in sport, we can change the score through sport, raising a generation of confident and empowered women’. The motivated guests quickly got on to signing up for the program with the knowledge that if done right, sport can be a force for good, instilling confidence, team skills, grit, purpose, meaning, connection, and wellbeing for girls.

A Maccabi Victoria Hall of Fame member, and a life member of the Maccabi Athletics Club, Jemima is an integral part of the Maccabi Athletics Club and a part of the Maccabi family. Montag’s new program aligns with Maccabi’s values and in particular, the Maccabi Women in Sports (WiNS) Program. Maccabi hopes that through this exciting new program the involvement and participation of women and girls in sport will increase, changing the game for future generations.

Interest of expression – Play On Program 2023: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TRX5BM7

Photography: Dynamic Visuals


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