Women’s Leadership in Sport – Meet Rochelle Eime

Rochelle Eime is an Associate Professor of Sports Participation at both Federation University and Victoria University and is also the director of Sport & Recreation Spatial. Rochelle is extremely passionate about all sport, has her Level 2 in tennis coaching and is still an avid player herself. Through completing undergraduate study in Human Movement, and continuing on to complete honours and PhD studies in the sporting sector, Rochelle has been, and will continue to be, a leading force in the sport and recreation research industry.

Rochelle has over 15 years of research experience, publishing over 180 peer reviewed publications and industry reports, specifically relating to sports participation, facilities, health and education. Rochelle leads Sport & Recreation Spatial research team, which integrates data about sport and recreation participation, facilities, population demographics and population health. Specifically her research focuses on participation levels and trends, influences on participation, the value of sport and places to play. Rochelle has an extremely strong network within the industry, working on research studies with a large number of organisations such as (but not limited to) VicHealth, Australian Sports Commission, Sport and Recreation Victoria, Netball Victoria and Cricket Victoria.

When asked what she enjoys most about her research role, Rochelle explained that it is “different everyday”. “You get to work in an industry that helps with decision making, assist to increase participation and facility use” Rochelle stated, “and most importantly, it is sport!”

Rochelle explained that the research industry is very competitive for funding and the nature of the work with short-term contracts can be challenging. She also noted that being a mother as well as an associate professor has, at times, been challenging. “Females are more hesitant to put their hands up and have a go due to family commitments” she stated. Rochelle also explained how she has given up international travel opportunities due to her family commitments. However Rochelle has demonstrated that having a family and excelling in the academic industry is possible as she was able to find a balance between work and family life. In conjunction with this, Rochelle also commends her husband for all of his support throughout her career.

Rochelle has twin boys, who recently asked her why she never played football or cricket. Rochelle had to explain to them that this simply was not an option for her growing up. This is an example of how the sporting landscape has changed throughout Rochelle’s involvement in sport. “There are so many more opportunities for females to play sport” Rochelle stated, “and there is more opportunity for females to take on governance roles and be involved in general”.

Rochelle does not believe there are any benefits or advantages to being a female in the sports research field. Rochelle believes it is equal for both genders and describes herself as simply “a researcher, who just happens to be female”. In order to get the position Rochelle is in today, she has had to be extremely dedicated and worked very hard. Rochelle encourages all females who wish to pursue a leadership position in sport to “believe and back yourself, put your hand up and have a go, be resilient when you encounter knock backs and surround yourself with supportive and encouraging people”.