The game-changing, defiant rise of women's sport, and why it matters
A timely and defiant manifesto unpacking the past, present and future of women's sport, from the Olympic gold medal-winning founder of The Female Athlete Project.
When Chloe Dalton was eight years old, she would kick a rugby ball around the field during the half-time break of her brothers' games. People noticed she was a handy kick, but when they told her she should join a team, she replied matter-of-factly, 'Girls don't play rugby.'
Sixteen years later, Chloe Dalton won Olympic gold playing rugby 7s for Australia and she is now a fixture in the AFLW. In 2020, she started her own news platform, The Female Athlete Project, to correct the lack of media coverage of women's sport. She was surrounded by women achieving incredible things, so why weren't people hearing about them?
The answer, it turned out, was complicated. Chloe was constantly fed the false narrative that women don't get paid much because female sport isn't as good as the men's equivalent, so nobody wants to watch it, therefore advertisers won't invest in it. This book shines a light on the interwoven quagmires of respect, opportunity, representation and pay that continue to stall the progress of women's teams around the world.
Girls Don't Play Sport is a fierce manifesto for supporting female athletes at all levels, exploring how we got to this point and where we need to go next to embrace the untapped potential of women's sport.
Chloe Dalton is one of Australia's few triple sport elite athletes. During a 2020 lockdown, Chloe created a platform to recognise and celebrate the stories and achievements of female athletes, in an attempt to address the gender inequalities that exist within the sports media space. The [female] athlete project is now the fastest growing women's sport platform in the country. Chloe was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2017, and in 2021 was recognised at the 'Her Sport Her Way' Awards alongside Casey Dellacqua with the Champion Award, for her outstanding achievements and her commitment to furthering opportunities for women and girls to participate in sport.Chloe currently plays AFLW with the GWS Giants in her hometown of Sydney and works part-time with the Giants media team.
Girls Don't Play Sport Books
Chloe Dalton: So often when people watch women's sport, they see the end product - the matches or the tournament. It's then compared to the same equivalent in the men, without considering any of the barriers that the female athletes have had to face. I wanted to provide an in-depth insight into the different issues impacting women in sport.
Who do you hope reads 'Girls Don't Play Sport' ?
Chloe Dalton: People who already love sport - I hope it feels like an exclusive 'behind the scenes' look into what athletes face each day. For those who are on the fence about women's sport - I want to show you why female and gender diverse athletes are so incredible, and why they deserve respect.
What research did you do into women's & men's sport, prior to writing ?
Chloe Dalton: The research component was a huge part of writing this book. I shared many stories about my own life and other athlete's lives, but I really wanted to provide statistics and data from across the globe to support my arguments about why women in sport deserve equal opportunity, respect and representation.
Was it difficult reliving certain aspects/times of your life, whilst writing 'Girls Don't Play Sport' ?
Chloe Dalton: There were a couple of stories that I shared in the book about my own experiences that in the past have been very private. It's a daunting experience putting these down on paper, knowing that people will be able to pick it up off a bookshelf and read it, but I hope that my stories can validate and empower other people who may have experienced similar issues.
What did you learn, about yourself, whilst writing 'Girls Don't Play Sport' ?
Chloe Dalton: Writing this book was the most significant feeling of imposter syndrome that I have experienced. But when I reached the halfway point, I realised that through my work at The Female Athlete Project, I deserve to have a voice on these topics. And where I didn't feel like the write person to speak on certain topics, I invited others in to do so.
What's the main message you hope readers take from 'Girls Don't Play Sport' ?
Chloe Dalton: Women's sport has the ability to change the way that women in society are perceived.
What advice do you have for women aspiring to compete in professional sport?
Chloe Dalton: Always keep seeking enjoyment in what you do, even on the really hard days of training. And when you don't enjoy it anymore, take a step back to reassess why that is.
What's next, for you?Chloe Dalton: I'm currently prepping for another season of AFLW with the GWS Giants, while running The Female Athlete Project to increase the visibility of women in sport.
Review: An insightful read into professional women's sport. Drawing from her own experience, Chloe Dalton highlights, what we as women already know, but need reminding so we can help path the way for more women to succeed. Grab a copy today, an enlightening read!