Tarik Bayrakli is one of few men to work at the Victorian Women’s Trust, doing important work in the gender equality space under the banner of community sports.
At its best, community sport is a social glue, teaching values of fair play, inclusion and respect from the ground up. But community sport at its worst becomes a battleground in which a win-at-all-costs mentality can lead to verbal and physical abuse of players, coaches and match officials. As the manager of Club Respect and an avid sports fan himself, Tarik sees the potential of sport in bringing us together to create a more inclusive and cohesive society if we have the bravery to confront and address some ugly truths. We asked Tarik to give us his best rapid-fire responses to some pretty big questions — and we think he handled that challenge really well! Read on to learn more.
What do you love about working at VWT?
Tarik: “I love that we can tackle big issues in a respectful and constructive way. I’ve got great colleagues, learn heaps from the boss Mary Crooks and our brand new office is fantastic.”
As a Dad, how do you bring gender equality into the home with your kids?
“It’s an ongoing process of role modelling curiosity, safety and respect while challenging gender roles. Importantly, it’s about being kind and constructive as my boys learn their way around this crazy world!”
It’s no secret that you are very into sports. What is it about sport that you love?
“There’s so much to it. I love community sport more than the elite stuff on TV because of the way it brings people together, teaches kids resilience and keeps everyone moving. Also, Go Blues!”
Tarik is also host of Smart Plays, a new podcast that uncovers the biggest problems facing Australian sport, and what it will take to bring sport into the modern world of respect. Every week our media highlights unsavoury sporting incidents that triggers the question — is this who we really are and is this the example we want to set our kids? In each fortnightly episode of Smart Plays, Tarik and special guests will be tackling difficult social issues in sport and exploring our capacity for positive social change.
Smart Plays is a Club Respect production, one of our flagship harm prevention initiatives created by the Dugdale Trust for Women & Girls. Smart Plays has been made possible thanks to the support of donors. Special thanks to the Wood Foundation and Spicers Australia.