A PINOT GRIS WITH HELEN FROM EVEN PLAYING FIELD
What is your drink of choice?
Pinot Gris with ice
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I love to travel and met my Husband Mark in Scotland while on a working holiday. I am a very proud Mum of 3, Georgia 12, Reuben 10, and Eddie 7. I love being involved in all their activities, so much so I am the P & C President of their primary school and manager of a few of their soccer and basketball teams.
I really enjoy volunteering and find it really fulfilling. I was part of the group of Connie’s Vollies who organized The Big Heart Project for Love Your Sister in May 2017 which raised a staggering $2.6 Million in 5 cent pieces. I was honored to speak at Connie’s public memorial in Melbourne on behalf of that team and was as a finalist in the Lifeline Woman of Spirit awards in 2018 in recognition of my volunteering.
Tell us about Even playing field and how it came to be?
At the beginning of 2019 my daughter Georgia, who was 10 at the time, was selected for a local women’s Under 13 Premier League soccer team. We were thrilled for her as she had worked so hard to get there. At the season launch the girls were given their playing jerseys in a small function room, with limited seating. The players of all 5 teams, including First grade and Reserve grade women were then asked to line up after the event to find a pair of shorts in their size and socks to wear to games.
The following week we attended the season launch for my son Reuben, 8 at the time, who had made it into a development program at the same club for Under 10, Under 11 and Under 12 divisions. As we walked into the event my heart sank. For the same number of teams, they had opened the whole function room which was filled with round tables and chairs, each team had designated seating and the event was catered! The players were presented with a fully personalized strip, training set, monogrammed tracksuit, and backpack. Georgia looked at Mark and I and asked why it was so different. We couldn’t give her an answer.
Why is there such a huge difference in community sport between boys and girls?
Why do grown women have to wear men’s playing strips?
Why are professional female athletes having to wear children’s football boots?
Why had my 10-year-old daughter been issued with the same men’s Fluro green goalkeeper jersey 4 times?
When I started looking into it I discovered there were situations like this all through community sport and that it all came down to “that is just what the club provides” or “that is what is available”.
It is just not good enough anymore.
So, I decided to set up even playing field to produce female specific teamwear and sports equipment. Products that are made specifically for the female body, not just men’s ones reproduced in pink!
We have started off with a range of Goalkeeper kits, in 4 great designs, one of which incorporates an amazing indigenous artwork ‘Woman. Celebration. Life’ by Leah Brideson a Canberra based modern indigenous artist. We can custom design female playing kits for several sports including soccer, rugby, touch, basketball, Aussie Rules and netball and we have a fantastic custom range of compression wear. We have a range of cool stainless steel 1.4L drink bottle with a foam roller outer for prehab and muscle massage.
We are proud to be the exclusive Australian stockist and distributor of Keepher™ female goalkeeper gloves, which are designed to fit the female hand. Having a glove that fits makes such a huge difference to the players confidence and technical ability. We are proud stockists of IDA female football boots, which have been design for the female foot and are amazingly comfortable, and Zena Sports, Z1, female impact protection garments, which protects women and girls from breast and rib injuries.
How can we support Even playing field?
Our mantra is
SAME GAME, SAME PASSION, SAME GOALS, SAME SKILSS – DIFFERENT BODY
I would hope that The CBR Women who read this come away convinced that females deserve to wear sportswear, teamwear and sports equipment that fits properly. It is just not OK anymore that girls and women have to wear men’s gear.
No more female athletes wearing baggy, or boob/hip hugging men’s gear because ‘that’s just the way things are’.
No more having to change behind trees because there are only men’s facilities at those fields or the changerooms aren’t unlocked for female sports.
No more professional female athletes having to wear children’s football boots because their feet don’t fit into men’s sizing.
let’s get even!
Oh, and if it everyone is feeling as shocked and determined to make a change as I am, I would love you to spread the word about even playing field. Tell your friends who are involved in community sport, let them know I can come to clubs and show the players all the great products so they can try them on. Like our Facebook page, tag us on Instagram, or head to our website to have look.
Any advice for those wanting to turn their dream into a reality?
My advice is that you will never be ready, emotionally, or financially, so just go for it. You will find a way to fit it all in. I believe that it is better to try something and fail, than regret never having given it a go at all.
If you can, start it as a side hustle, then you won’t have the financial pressure of leaving your job straight away. You will know when the time is right to quit your job to focus on building it.
I liken the journey (Yep, I said it!) of starting a business to organizing a wedding or party. Yes, you would love everything to be absolutely perfect and just how you imagine it in your head. But the reality is that as you start the process you will have to put on hold or even sacrifice some plans because of money or time, but the things that are the most important to you float to the top. It is OK. It’s OK for your idea to evolve or change, as long as the core concept is still there to keep driving you.