University Of Tasmania

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‘You can’t be what you can’t see’: Indigenous Australian sportswomen as powerful role models

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 08:56 authored by Stronach, M, O'Shea, M, Hazel MaxwellHazel Maxwell

It is generally agreed that sporting role models (SRM) can inspire behaviour and attitude. This paper explores the influence of three contemporary Indigenous Australian sportswomen, and in doing so, their role as SRMs for women and girls. By applying and extending Marianne Meier’s (2015) theoretical lens, the actions, voices and influences of the women are considered. Meier recognizes and describes nine functions of SRMs. The voices of the Indigenous female athletes are portrayed through a media analysis including the athletes’ own social media commentary alongside mainstream media over a four-year period from 2017 to 2021. Examining the Indigenous sportswomen’s SRM status enables a layered and deeper understanding of the unique platform provided by sport, which can serve to strengthen their voices and influence. Indigenous Australian sportswomen are constructed in complex and sometimes contradictory ways, at times portrayed as advocates, deviants, sporting ambassadors, and political activists.


Publication title

Sport in Society






School of Health Sciences



Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2022 Informa UK Limited

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Organised sports; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status and outcomes

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