Tempering the testosterone: Masculinity, women and Australian surt lifesaving
Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
School of International, Cultural and Community Studies
On 1 July 1980, with little fanfare, an Australian icon acknowledged it could no longer defend its overwhelmingly masculine image and admitted women as full members. Surf Life Saving Australia, guardian of the nation’s beaches since 1906, and a high profile, often spectacular, summer sport had to face reality. Its clubs had no reasons for excluding women other than deep-seated prejudice and women were desperately needed on beach patrols in order to boost declining active membership in several states. Women didn’t stampede through the clubhouse doors on 1 July 1980 yet it is now acknowledged that they may have saved surf lifesaving from a serious decline in both strength and status.