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Seeing Capability Before Disability

Sport and recreation organisations looking to provide employment and leadership opportunities for women with disability can sometimes find it difficult to know where to start.

* We use the term women and girls with disabilities on the understanding that this is inclusive of women, girls, feminine identifying and non-binary people with disability in Australia.

There are several considerations to take on board before an organisation is ready to employ a person with disability.

We worked with women with disability, Sport and Recreation Victoria and research associates at the Institute of Health and Sport at Victoria University, to create the Seeing capability before disability — a guide for employers in sport to attract and retain women with disability.

We hope the guide will support managers to put practices in place that attract and retain women with disability as employees and leaders in the sport and recreation sector.

The guide covers

  • Understanding the different types of disability.

  • Getting commitment from management.

  • Knowing where to find the appropriate resources.

  • Learning the recruitment process for people with disability.

  • Retaining women with disability in your workforce.


It also includes many resources, and a case study, to help organisations navigate the above considerations.

Read or download the guide (accessible PDF).


Example resources

Why is this guide important for our sector?

In early 2019, several Victorian sport and recreation organisations identified that there are gaps in knowledge between employers and job seekers with disability.

Systemic support and change were identified as key barriers and the Seeing capability before disability guide was developed in response.

During the research for the guide, a large focus was on listening to the voices of women with disability. This helped us to understand what barriers women face when looking for work in the sport and recreation sector.

Diversity and inclusion at work benefits everyone.

There are great initiatives happening to make sure we’re increasing participation on the field…but what about off the field?

In 2015, only 53% of people with disability were taking part in work, compared with 83% of people without disability 1 . This has changed very little over the past 20 years.

Australians with disability are more likely to be unemployed (10% compared with 5% for those without disability) 1 and women with disability are less likely to be in the labour force compared to men (with and without disability) and women without disability 2 .

The Seeing capability before disability guide is an opportunity for our sector to work together to change these outcomes.

The Seeing capability before disability guide was developed in partnership with research associates at the Institute of Health and Sport at Victoria University. We thank Dr Professor Clare Hanlon for her invaluable support during its development The Seeing capability before disability guide was funded and supported by the Victoria State Government in partnership with the Federal Government’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) program.

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  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: First Results, 2015 (Cat. No. 4430.0.10.001).

  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, 2012 (Cat. No. 4430.0).