Dr O’Donnell is a world-record breaking cyclist who took up full-time riding at age 35, quickly rising through the ranks to represent Australia at three World Championships.
She then went on to manage and race in a top women’s national cycling team and is also a seven-time national rowing champion.
As a physician at the Epworth Hospital, Dr O’Donnell is also a leading voice in the medical community, using her unique background in medicine and sport to empower and inspire female cancer patients to improve their health and wellbeing through motivational behaviour change and exercise.
Dr O’Donnell said we are going to do everything we can to support women in leadership roles, in both elite and grassroots sport on and off the field, to ensure sport welcomes every Victorian no matter their gender.”
“I cannot wait to get on with changing the face of sport and recreation so that woman and girls can see a future in sport that welcomes their skills, passion and participation,” Dr O’Donnell said.
The new Office for Women in Sport and Recreation is part of the Victorian Government’s strategy to deliver an equal playing field for women and girls at every level of our sport and in recreation organisations and clubs.
The office was created to implement the nine recommendations from the Inquiry into Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation and deliver further Change Our Game initiatives to boost participation and create more leadership opportunities in sport for women.
It will also focus on identifying the policies and infrastructure needed to create female and family-friendly environments across the state.
The Victorian Government has invested $7.2 million to level the playing field for women, both on and off the field, including education and cultural change initiatives, events and forums, leadership scholarships, and supporting female friendly coaching efforts.
Today’s appointment builds on a record $14 million to build more female-friendly change rooms at grassroots clubs right across Victoria.
For more information view the Office for Women and Sport and Recreation page.