Ask Carrie Graf and she will tell you in no uncertain terms, "coaching doesn't have a gender. It doesn't have a penis or a vagina".
"It’s coaching, it’s teaching, it’s development, it’s leadership. That doesn’t come with an X or Y chromosome," Graf said.
Why then, is the influence of females in executive and coaching roles "going backwards"? Graf puts it down to gender bias, and Sport Australia is desperate to reverse the trend.
The six-time WNBL championship coach is among 33 women called on by Sport Australia boss Kate Palmer and AIS chief Peter Conde to use the experience of new leadership programs to push for diversity in Australian sport.
Seventeen coaches and 16 executives have been selected for two talent programs aimed at addressing the lack of female sport executives and high performance coaches in elite competition.
Graf admits she is one of the lucky ones. But she says the fact she has to count herself as lucky is simply unacceptable, adamant gender bias stands in the way of women's sport's rapid development.
"It’s going backwards, it’s a joke to be honest," Graf said.
"From 2012 when I was head coach of the Opals at London [in the Olympic Games], fast forward eight years and the numbers are declining. That’s appalling.
"It’s not because there is not great female coaches out there, that there is not great female coaches in the system, it’s about decisions being made when jobs are coming up. That’s a critical factor.
"Women’s sport is in the spotlight at the moment in terms of female athletes but there is still a long way to go there in terms of pay, how it gets broadcast, what it costs for female athletes to do what they do.
"It’s about a mindset about what women can and can’t do, about boardrooms and interview panels look like, and not often do they look like the group of people over there, or even 50-50. That’s where we have to see some change too, the perception of what women and girls can do.
"There’s a shift but it has been glacial to date really. One of the great things we’ll see with the spotlight on women’s sport for our athletes is that our next generation of young men will grow up to be men that see women as their equal."
Palmer has previously stated only nine per cent of accredited high performance coaches at the 2016 Olympic Games were female, which fell from 12 per cent at the London 2012 event.
There are currently no female coaches in the AFLW after the league's first premiership coach Bec Goddard was forced to leave the game having been steered away from a direct pathway to the AFL.
Goddard is desperate to get a crack at AFL level in a full-time capacity, and if the positive reception she got from the Canberra Demons NEAFL team last year while working as an assistant is anything to go by, the players will treat her no differently to male coaches.
She thought Adelaide might take the punt on giving her a full-time role after she led the club to a premiership, but nothing changed and Goddard has been left to keep banging on doors looking for coaching roles.
Canberra United coach Heather Garriock says there must be a seismic shift in the perception of female coaches or too many women will be denied the chance to show they are world class.
"Coaching is coaching, it is to us as females, but not to the general public. We need to change mindsets," Garrock said.
"I’m a strong, opinionated female. I believe in my ability, I believe in what I can contribute to the game and I’m very passionate about the game.
"I treat myself just as a coach, and if people want to call me a ‘female coach’, it disappoints me. I can compete with the men just as much as anyone else."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.