Surf lifesavers at the Queensland Youth Championships at North Burleigh. Picture: HARVPIX
Surf lifesavers at the Queensland Youth Championships at North Burleigh. Picture: HARVPIX

Surf Life Saving Queensland accused of sexism

SURF Life Saving Queensland has been accused of sexism, after female ironwomen were allegedly snubbed in the junior state championships on the Gold Coast.

A young female lifesaver has launched an online petition demanding equality after what she claims was a lack of recognition for girls who competed in the Under 15 Ironwoman final in the Queensland Youth Surf Life Saving Championships at Burleigh Heads last weekend.

Sunshine Beach lifesaver Ella Gooderham, whose sister Lily was among the finalists in the U15 Ironwoman event, says there was a 'lack of equality' shown.

"With 16 females competing in the final, they were called to the line as a group and set off for their race," Ella said in her petition.

"Following this, 16 males were called for their race individually with their names over the loud speaker, were filmed with professional cameras and were displayed on social media.

"Personally, my sister and her friends competed in the Ironwoman final and asked parents and others around them why they didn't receive such recognition for their achievements in qualifying for a state final."

Ella said she respected the fact that the boys were competing for the Matthew Barclay Memorial Trophy, named after a young Sunshine Coast ironman who died at the Australian Titles at Kurrawa in 2012.

"However, that did not prohibit them announcing the females onto the start line in the same manner," she said.

"The weekend after International Women's Day, it is saddening to see the lack of equality in such an admired sport.

"Therefore, this petition was created in order to achieve recognition for the 16 females who competed in an equally testing race, but received no acknowledgement, and for equality among future female and male competitors."

More than 700 people have signed the petition since Ella launched it earlier this week.

"Completely justified request," one petitioner wrote.

"This is a matter of basic respect and courtesy to treat all competitors equally. Tradition is no excuse. Time to move out of the dark ages Surf Lifesaving Queensland!!!"

Another petitioner said the snub was 'very unfair'.

"I get the tradition with the trophy but that was a total lack of respect to the girls today, not cool especially in this day and age!!" she wrote.

Comment was being sought from SLSQ.

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