The Female Friendly Sport Infrastructure Guidelines provide information about and advice on how to deliver more gender equitable environments. 


In Victoria, female participation rates in sport and active recreation remain lower than males, particularly in community sport and recreation club settings. The facilities at clubs play a key factor in encouraging female involvement.


Combining cultural change with facility development in order to provide a strong foundation for participation increases is vital. The connection between these foundations can be strengthened through the implementation of the recommendations outlined in the Female Friendly Sport Infrastructure Guidelines.

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While promoting a flexible and multi-use approach, ensure female friendly design elements and specific requirements meet the level and type of activities being delivered, as well as occupant, club or tenant needs.



Infrastructure should be efficiently designed to promote equitable and flexible use by a mixture of users capable of sharing facilities and usage times. In particular, the facility space planning and design of public spaces should adopt a multipurpose approach.



Identification of compatible sports, teams, activities, clubs or organisations with similar objectives and requirements for facility design, use and management should be promoted.




The principles of Universal Design should be applied to community sport and recreation facilities so that they accommodate users of all ages, gender, ability and cultural backgrounds.




Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) takes into consideration the relationship between users and the physical environment in the design of public spaces in crime prevention and assists with public safety.




Security and safety of users should be paramount. Community sport and active recreation facilities and their surrounds should be designed, built and maintained in accordance with relevant occupational health and safety standards. They should also incorporate child safe and safer design principles into facility design. 




Facility design and layout should promote safe and optimal functionality to accommodate formal, competitive, social and recreational forms of usage and participation.




Membership of the project team should reflect gender equity. Ensure female users also also included in the consultation process to identify their needs. Design workshops should be undertaken to ensure direct users and stakeholders are included in the facility design process. Functional design briefs should be prepared based on user consultation prior to commencing schematic drawings to ensure all needs are identified. For refurbishments or redevelopment projects, an audit of the existing infrastructure should be undertaken in order to identify any specific gender equity issues. 




  • Playing fields oriented north-south to improve usability and functionality and minimise the impact of players looking directly into the sun.

  • If providing multi-use or sport specific hard courts (e.g. tennis or netball), ensure they are in close proximity to playing fields, social family areas, pavilion and change amenities.

  • Provide playgrounds that are in close proximity to playing fields for ease of supervision to promote a family friendly environment.

  • BBQ and social family recreation area.

  • Sporting pavilion ideally centrally located to provide accessibility and amenities to all playing fields and multi-use or sport specific hard courts. Pavilion design should provide a gender neutral environment to promote female participation and increased usage for other groups. Consolidate all site public toilets into the main pavilion where practical.

  • Position pavilion on site where it does not compromise opportunities for future expansion.

  • Undercover spectator area. Ideally all-weather and located towards the centre of playing field.

  • Informal seating area or landscaped spectating mounds.

  • Provide sufficient car parking to meet peak demands in close proximity and accessibility to the pavilion and playing fields.

  • Provide universally accessible car parking spaces.

  • Provide accessible pathways to the pavilion, playing fields and family social areas for all users - all genders and age groups. Ensure there is clear line of sight for the pathway security.

  • Provide sufficient car paring lighting for security.

  • Access roadway.

  • Service road around perimeter of playing fields is preferable.

  • When undertaking precinct master planning on an existing site, consider moving infrastructure that could be inexpensively relocated to suit new proposed requirements (e.g. sheds and training nets) in lieu of pavilion and playing fields relocations.

  • Consider existing site specific conditions and planning restrictions such as flood levels, building and cultural heritage overlays and easements. Consider also any impacts of the proposed facilities on existing site vegetation.

  • Provide a sufficient buffer between the proposed facility site and any surrounding urban interfaces. 


  • Players change rooms with direct access to amenities and to the playing fields. Refer to relevant sporting preferred facilities guidelines for the number and size of required change rooms and amenities. Facilities should be sized to encourage shared use amongst all sporting codes.

  • Where sport specific hard courts are included in the precinct/reserve, provide dedicated female change rooms and amenities to promote female participation.

  • Umpire facilities suitable for use by both genders with separate paths of travel.

  • Multi-purpose/social room to have views to the playing fields. Design should encourage flexibility of use by all user groups.

  • Accessible toilets to be centrally located for equitable access by all. All circulation spaces shall be designed to comply with Disability Discrimination Act requirements. Ensure equitable access to undercover areas.

  • Ancillary areas may include offices and meeting rooms. The areas shall be designed to encourage community and external use.

  • Public toilets should connect to any family social recreation areas or play spaces as well as the main building.

  • Assessment of facility size to ensure current needs and future user growth are met.

  • Facility safety aspects, including appropriate lighting (internal and external) and clear site lines to car parks and site access points

  • User specific accommodation and functionality needs, identified through appropriate consultation.

  • Consideration of existing surrounding landscape and its integration and connectivity with placement and layout of the facility.

  • Appropriate space planning to public areas to ensure they are accessible and can accommodate all users.

  • Opportunities for future expansion of key accommodation in the facility design, in particular the community room and storage spaces. Where possible provision of simple extension opportunities to meet anticipated future user needs should be considered in the design.

  • Maximising options for open space and visibility of the surrounding environment.


  • Provide direct access from amenities to players’ change rooms. Refer to relevant sporting facilities preferred guidelines and regulatory requirements for amenities and change room numbers and sizes. Total number of required plumbing fixtures to suit sporting codes on site and relevant authorities.

  • Provide direct access from change rooms to playing fields with minimal level changes.

  • Direct access to secondary playing fields is desirable where possible.

  • Provide roller shutter or similar fixtures to open up change rooms and amenities to allow flexibility in use by all genders and ease of cleaning.

  • Direct access from storeroom to change rooms is desirable.

  • Provide privacy screens to entry of change rooms.

  • Provide individual toilet cubicles and avoid urinals for unisex use.

  • Provide individual lockable cubicle showers with change seats inside each cubicle to enhance privacy for users.

  • Provide vanity/shelves for personal items and power points for hair dryers and other accessories near the washbasins to encourage female use.

  • Appropriate site access both internally and externally, in order to achieve close proximity to on-field and off-field player’s facilities.

  • Consideration of Universal Design principles to change rooms and amenities (both player and officials spaces) that cater for all users and abilities. These can include unisex and accessible amenities.

  • Provision of showers and toilet cubicles that achieve appropriate privacy.

  • Privacy to change room entry points, minimising site lines externally and provide screening.

  • Appropriately located hygiene disposal points.

  • Provision of shelves and power points to vanities for general accessories.

  • Consideration of design options that split change rooms and amenities to enhance flexibility.

  • Where appropriate consider accessible toilet/s and shower/s within the change space.

  • Provision of family change facilities including baby change tables.

  • Appropriate finishes to promote clean and hygienic environment.

  • Officials change areas close to the playing fields.


  • Provide separate access to playing fields from the players.

  • Provide roller shutters/sliders or similar between to open up the umpires/official room to allow for both privacy between mixed genders and common space for discussions between the umpires officials.

  • Provide individual toilet cubicles with full height partitions and avoid urinals for unisex use.

  • Provide full height portioned individual lockable cubicled showers with change seats inside each cubicle to enhance privacy for users.

  • Provide vanity/shelves for personal items and power points for hair dryers/other accessories near the washbasins to encourage female use.


At a minimum, ensure that facility designs comply with all relevant Australian standards. Investigate opportunities for best practice design using various principle based guides such as Universal Design. More specifically for community sport and active recreation facilities, consider the following areas in the facility design process:

  • Ensure minimum compliance with relevant Australian Standards in the formation of refurbishment project brief (even where it is not specifically required as part of the proposed scope of work).

  • Consider proximity and access requirements to accessible car space from the site parking to the facility.

  • Use appropriate materials and finishes to site access pathways to improve connectivity and wayfinding – provide concrete paving to key connecting pathways where possible.

  • Where external walkways and ramps surrounding the facility are provided, ensure that they are undercover to ensure appropriate weather protection.

  • Provide accessible pathways from the facility to the playing field to achieve equitable access and spectator opportunities for all users.

  • Where possible, provide pathways and access ramps where level changes occur in favour of stairs.

  • Provide ambulant (accessible where appropriate) toilet facilities for the public, players and officials.

  • In public accessible toilet facilities also make provision for baby change facilities.

  • Where multi-level facilities are proposed or being refurbished, provide lift access to the upper level spaces.

  • Consider ‘Changing Places’ accessible facilities for specific sites where a need is identified.


The effect of colour and material palettes on facility users can be significant. They can influence user’s sensory experience and can influence behaviour and emotions.

Consider the following aspects to create a facility that is inviting and inclusive for all: 

  • Ensure colours and materials are compatible with the facility context and use. Potential conceptual influences may include neighbouring buildings, site historical features, unique landscape elements, any features of cultural significance and locally available materials.

  • Material selection should be approached through the consideration of local, organic and sustainable sources, while still addressing aspects of ongoing maintenance and longevity.

  • Appropriate use of colours and contrast can improve wayfinding as well as create a simple and intuitive environment for all users.


Use subtly textured, visually soft materials, rather than flat, cold, impersonal materials such as large expanses of metal cladding.  Avoid painted external finishes as they require on-going maintenance.

Some materials that have proven to be favourable in terms of both durability and visual impact include:

  • Masonry with a pre-finished decorative surface.

  • Glazing to public areas to promote user interaction.

  • Pre-finished cement sheeting.

  • Patterned brickwork.

  • Hardwood timbers.

  • Reconstituted timber products (locally produced with Australian hardwoods).

  • Landscaping may be integrated to further soften the façade.


Shape a friendly and dignified environment that inspires a sense of well-being and activity (for example organic natural colours such as greens and browns, or neutral palettes).

Use of a community sport or active recreation club’s colours may result in a sense of exclusion for some users.  Consideration should be given to the appropriate location and extent of any club-associated colours forming part of the design palette. 

Community sport or active recreation facilities with a multi-purpose community space should incorporate light, bright finishes with minimal use of recessive colours.