Membership

With the low number of Women bowlers in our club and very few women taking the challenge to learn bowls at our club, we need to ask why?

Then, we need to ask how are we (all bowlers at the club) going to fix the problem?

One suggestion well worth considering is opening up other times of the week for women to bowl, specifically Saturday.

Currently women bowl Tuesday and Thursday and history has a lot to do with this practice. In days gone by (I mean 20+ years ago) there were less women in the workforce than today providing plenty of opportunity to play bowls during the week. Conservatism in the lawn bowls fraternity has ensured this practice has endured.

Today the story is different. The participation rate of women in the workforce is the highest it has ever been and unlikely to reverse to former levels. This means that for women to be encouraged to take up bowls at our club, they are either retired or have financial security and do not need to work during the week. Think of how many women you know that fit either description.

Some clubs have arrested the decline in women bowlers in their club (or grown the membership) by including women on Saturdays.

This has been achieved by providing rinks for women's games, organised by the Women's section. In other clubs, men and women bowl alongside one another.

I am not advocating a leap to amalgamation in our club. I am proposing an opportunity to assist the Women's section attract and retain members.

Obviously there are many other reasons and other solutions.

I'm interested other's views on this.
Am I on my own?
Do I strike a chord?
Have I painted the picture unfairly?

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5 Replies to “Membership”

  1. Dallas Post author

    Yesterday whilst umpiring the Mixed Fours championship, I took the opportunity to explore the views of some of the women bowlers who had come along to watch their friends in battle.

    Of particular interest to me is the proposal to open some rinks for the women to run games on Saturday afternoons, alongside the men’s games. All the women bowlers that I spoke to were in support of the concept and would ‘more than likely’ or ‘definitely’ bowl on Saturdays under those conditions. I also explored the concept with some male bowlers there as spectators and the same level of support was forthcoming.

    This is good news and I feel we can move forward and develop a proposal on the number of rinks that would be needed.

    At the end of the day, it is the best interest of all bowlers at the club to work toward the survival of the Women’s bowls section. We are all in a position to be proactive and take steps to help the section not only survive as a viable section, but grow to a size that attracts the best once again.

    I’ll be raising this at our next Committee meeting and seeking to get the ball moving.

    Dallas

    Reply
  2. Dallas Post author

    Over the past week I have discussed with a number of people, including current women bowlers and non-bowlers, the idea of opening the green, at least a few rinks, to the Women’s section to utilise on Saturdays alongside the Men’s games.

    The response has been unanimous. All that I spoke to agreed that times have changed and in order to encourage more women into the club and the sport, access must be made available that is suitable to them i.e. the weekends. The question put to me in a couple of these discussions was “Why is Saturday reserved for men?”, and “What happened to equality in sport?”.

    Please leave your comments so that we as a club can understand how the members feel, and hopefully make the right decisions for the benefit of the club and bowls.

    Dallas

    Reply
  3. Dallas Post author

    Thanks to both mickie and the apprentice for your feedback and support of my post.

    The question I have then is ‘how do we progress from here?”.

    Now that we have identified there is a problem and a change is required, and postulated a change, we must now plot how we make the change become a reality, or at least a trial to prove or disprove the effectiveness of the proposal.

    So, how do we get the women’s and men’s sections to come to an arrangement?

    Reply
  4. the apprentice

    Hi all,

    I think Dallas raises a fair point. Perhaps encouragement of the ladies to offer bowls at different times (especially considering that we have 14 available windows for bowls – i.e. morning and afternoon every day) and to engage more with the local community would see an increase in lady bowlers. Our club needs to be progressive in meeting the needs of women today. If we can accommodate lady bowlers outside of traditional times, we could corner a niche market crying out for attention in the Hills area.

    I also agree with the point Mickie raises, unification is the only way forward for bowls not only in this club but also in the state.

    Furthermore, youth in bowls is essential! To those among us who are negative towards younger bowlers (and I know at WPH there are only a few…but they can be vocal), I say they need to rethink their position. Think about how rewarding achievement in bowls has been for you and how the social interaction that bowls offers has been so enjoyable for you and how rewarding it could be for others. WPH is truly ‘the Friendliest Club in the Hills’, we need to showcase this to everyone in our immediate area highlighting that bowls in not a game for the over-65s but a dynamic and enjoyable sport in touch with the needs of everyone in the 21st century!

    Reply
  5. mickie

    Hi Dallas,
    Over Easter, one our players played at another club. One of the opposing players suggested that he should not be playing bowls, he should be out doing things, like what I don’t know. Of course he is one of our younger bowlers.
    Obviously, like so many older bowlers, they resent the younger bowlers. They should realise a club needs new members all the time. As the younger bowler is the future of bowls, let alone he will have somewhere about 60 years to give towards bowls whereas a bowler of middle age or older may have only 10 to 15 years left to play bowls.

    I don’t know if bowlers realise over the last ten years that we have averaged a net 3000 bowlers per annum leaving bowls. The membership of the RNSWBA at February 2010 was 58,767 bowlers, over the next 10 years we will lose; I leave the calculation for you to do. The women’s situation is even worse as it becomes more important for wives to be working. The younger women who cannot play during the week are generally unable to play bowls at weekends because the men have sole use of the greens on Saturdays. As with men bowlers, the ladies also don’t like the younger bowler or they would provide matches for the working women to bowl.

    As I move around the Zone I notice the depletion of bowlers, both male and female, during the week. I see clubs with from 4 to 10 women bowlers playing bowls. I also see more and more women playing bowls on Saturdays with the men because of the lack of numbers of men playing.

    The solution I see is the unification of Men’s and Women’s clubs. This will happen only if the RNSWBA and WNSWBA combine.

    The other way which is the way I believe we should investigate, is to provide competitions and social events for younger bowlers both male and female. No days should be considered out of bounds. If we don’t do something soon it will be ‘Goodbye Bowls’.

    Reply

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