BA celebrates International Women’s Day with Bec Van Asch

by admin on March 5, 2015

Everyday leading up to International Women’s Day on March 8 Bowls Australia will publish a feature article on eight women ( 1 from each state) that contribute to our sport to celebrate the wonderful work women do for bowls, and the positive changes which have occurred in women’s bowls in the past decade.

Rebecca Van Asch has achieved a lot in her bowling career including winning Tasmania’s first ever World Title back in 2012; however off the green the Invermay Bowling Club runs like clockworks thanks to the tireless efforts of Van Asch as the clubs youngest ever Chairperson. 

Van Asch has been a member of her club for 17 years, a considerable time when you think she has only just celebrated her 27th birthday and interestingly she is the second female chair in her clubs 106 year history; her mum was the first!

When Van Asch first played bowls women were considered ‘associates’ of the club and were just a women’s committee that weren’t given equal say on the board. 

Since then, Invermay has become one of the most successfully unified clubs in Tasmania, and Van Asch’s contribution to the club can certainly be considered a strong reasoning behind the success. 

Van Asch was put on the women’s committee at the tender age of 16; she then moved onto the board as club secretary and later spent three years as the Ladies President. 

The Invermay Bowling Club and their members have played a huge part in shaping the kind of women Van Asch has become and now the 27 year old is running the show!

“Taking on the role of Chairperson was more challenging and there was a lot I had to learn,” Mrs Van Asch said.   

“I was familiar with meeting procedures because I had sat on boards before, but actually directing them was certainly different and something that I had to learn more of.”  

Van Asch attended seminars on governance procedures and any other seminars that she thought could help her in the role.

“The education and experience I have learnt from my role has been one of my favourite parts, whilst also being able to give back to my club that has been so encouraging of me; it has been the biggest highlight,” Mrs Van Asch said. 

Being a player first and foremost Van Asch found that the roles she took up within the club came as second nature to her, and during her time as Chairperson she is working away to leave a lasting legacy for her beloved club. 

“During my time as Chair we have revamped our annual Easter Carnival into an Open Fours Tournament that carries one of the biggest prize pools in Tasmania,” Mrs Van Asch said.  

“We have done renovations and created an office space that we now rent out to Bowls Tasmania, which has helped create extra revenue for us and we have increased our sponsorship by almost double.”

“But the biggest thing I hope I have achieved is making our club a more open and honest environment.”

Being a volunteer run club Van Asch is always there to lend a hand, whether she is needed behind the bar to serve, help cater a function, liaise a dispute or deal with the behind the scenes business matters. 

Van Asch is not just dedicating years of service to her club but she is leaving a legacy for other young women to follow in her footsteps. 

“It is important that we all lead by example and set a good grounding for other women to follow; it’s not just about having a woman in certain roles, it is about having the right person in the right roles and we need to continue to improve ourselves to be the best we can be in our chosen field,” Mrs Van Asch said. 

“By doing this I believe we are setting the best example possible.”

Van Asch says she is very lucky to have such a supportive board of both men and women who work really well as a team developing fresh ideas. 

“The men have been great to work with, and I think because we are teammates on the green, it has been easy to carry that into the boardroom,” Mrs Van Asch said. 

There is no doubt that Van Asch is willing to get her hands dirty and has certainly earned the respect of her male counterparts.

“I’ve been really lucky that I haven’t copped any negativity being a woman in that role, even from the older generations that are perhaps not as used to having a female in charge,” Mrs Van Asch said. 

It can be hard as a female trying to break into certain management roles in any organisation or business, and sport is one of those areas because it has been a field dominated my males for so long but in terms of playing bowls Van Asch believes it is one of the few sports that demonstrates equality.   

“Bowls is as a great sport for gender equality; whether at a national or state level we are treated as equals to our male counterparts, which many sports are still trying to bridge the gap between,” Mrs Van Asch.”

“We have equal prize money at all Bowls Australia and Bowls Tasmania events; many states now offer women the opportunity to play pennant on a weekend as opposed to the old school approach of weekdays.”

Van Asch is a fantastic role model for young bowlers coming through the ranks; not only has she done the hard work training as an athlete to reach an international standard but she has transformed her club and is leading the way for women in our sport.  

When asked whether she would encourage other women to take up a similar role in their club, Van Asch did not hesitate and said women may surprise themselves with what they have to offer.  

This International Women’s Day (March 8) Van Asch says it is a way to look at how far women have come, and as an individual Van Asch should be very proud of her contribution to the sport she loves.