Equal the Contest

Mitch Nivalis working on the short film Equal the Contest (Julie Millowick).

Local residents are invited to the screening of a short film about the Mount Alexander Falcons, as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, which starts later this week.

The film, which documents the local club’s origins and its fight for inclusion, will be followed by a panel discussion which will include the film’s creator and Falcons player, Mitch Nivalis.

The free screening will take place at 6pm on Tuesday, November 28, in Sunbury and on Monday, December 4 in Kyneton. Tea, coffee, and light catering will also be provided.

Equal the Contest follows the formation in 2021 of the Castlemaine based football club for women and gender diverse people and their fight for inclusion in the Australian Football League.

Despite fulfilling all the necessary conditions to form a new club, the Falcons initially had their application rejected by AFL Central Victoria.

The club members then embarked on a campaign to gather support from the community to overturn the decision, challenging age-old sporting traditions and joining the wider movement for gender equality.

Mitch said Equal the Contest is a case study for current day gender inequality.

“It highlights the challenges still faced by women and gender diverse people who simply want to play football – or any sport,” Mitch said.

“The club has created a welcoming and inclusive community where women and gender diverse people have the opportunity to play and to take on leadership positions free of gender constraints.

“It’s great to see local sport leading the way and encouraging the broader society to embrace equality for all.”

The club is going from strength to strength this year, and played its first official season as part of the inaugural women’s football competition in the Riddell District Football Netball League.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is a global movement that runs from November 25, to December 10, to raise awareness and challenge the causes of gender-based violence.

Sunbury and Cobaw Community Health, Hume council and Macedon Ranges council organised the screening event and panel discussion, with support from Women’s Health in the North and Women’s Health Loddon Mallee.