A new national group has today taken steps to address the issue of gender representation in one of the fastest growing women’s participation sports in Australia.
The Women in Football (WiF) Association was launched today by the NSW Minister for Sport, the Hon John Sidoti MP with the support of Football Federation Australia (FFA), modelled on a similar organisation in the United Kingdom.
The not-for-profit national association, specifically established to support women wanting to participate at any level in the sport, has eight committee members, all of whom have had experience in football from grassroots up to elite levels including the CEO of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation Lesley Podesta, head coach of Central Coast Mariners Alen Stajcic, media identity George Donikian and international football reform advocate Bonita Mersiades.
Ms Mersiades, who is President of WiF, said there had long been under-representation of women in football, even though it was a sport that attracted women of all ages at all levels as volunteers, administrators, players, fans and in the media.
“Considering just how many women are involved in football at all levels, a national association with a focus on networking, collaboration and professional development, from grassroots up, is long overdue,” Ms Mersiades said.
“An important part of Women in Football will be Trixie’s List, a database of women who may be available and could be considered for management, coaching and other positions within the football industry.
“There have been improvements in gender equality in football over the last few years, but we have a long way to go, and Women in Football has been established to further promote and grow the sport we all love,” she said.
FFA Chairman, Chris Nikou, has welcomed the new association.
“From my perspective, anything that encourages and supports more women to get involved in our game, the better,” he said.
“I know from a grassroots perspective that so many women form the backbone of volunteer effort, but we have yet to see that translate into women in representative numbers in management and administration.
“An initiative such as ‘Trixie’s List’ to help football federations and clubs find suitably-qualified women for roles is welcome and practical, as is the idea of providing professional development and networking opportunities for women in football,” said Mr Nikou.
Membership of Women in Football is open to women and men at a cost of $25 annually. To join the association, sign up at womeninfootball.org.au.