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AFL Women’s League Kicking Goals for Gender Equality

15 February 2017 at 8:44 am
Wendy Williams
The value of women in sport is finally being acknowledged, according to not for profit Our Watch.

Wendy Williams | 15 February 2017 at 8:44 am


AFL Women’s League Kicking Goals for Gender Equality
15 February 2017 at 8:44 am

The value of women in sport is finally being acknowledged, according to not for profit Our Watch.

The organisation, which was established to drive nationwide change in the culture, behaviours and power imbalances that lead to violence against women and children, said the kick off of the AFL Women’s League, a pay parity agreement between male and female rookie players and increasing media coverage, showed steps were being taken towards gender equality.

According to Our Watch CEO Mary Barry it is important because evidence shows the key driver of violence against women is gender inequality.

“It has been recognised in many countries that sport can be a force to amplify women’s voices and tear down gender barriers and discrimination,”  Barry said.

“Both female and male sports leaders are community role models for many, particularly young people. They have an opportunity to call out sexism and inequality – to set the tone, and the example, for others to follow.”

Her comments come as she announced that Sabrina Frederick–Traub, from the Brisbane Lions, and Chelsea Randall, from the Adelaide Crows, had joined Our Watch as Ambassadors for the youth campaign, The Line.

They join existing AFL Ambassadors for The Line, Shaun Burgoyne and Marcus Bontempelli as part of the renewal of the Our Watch and AFLPlayers Association partnership, first announced in 2015.

Frederick–Traub said that as the standing of women in sport increases, sporting codes and players must acknowledge the influence they can have in society.

“Violence and disrespect have no place on or off the field. Nor does gender inequality,” Frederick–Traub said.

“Whether in sport or wider society, initiatives to create an equal playing field for men and women, boys and girls, should be championed.”

She said it was important for aspiring female sports stars to have good role models.

“I love everything about sport. However, it’s important to me that aspiring female sports stars can see people like them reflected in the game,” she said.

“This is why it’s great the AFL has recently taken steps towards equality and laid solid foundations for the future of women’s football.”

Barry said that young people needed to see that women can lead as players, and they deserve the same recognition and media coverage as their male counterparts.

“Young girls will not strive to be what they cannot see,” she said.

“The more we amplify the voices of our female athletes the more we challenge rigid stereotypes and barriers to participation.”

Barry said research from The Line had shown that young people were struggling to work out what respectful, healthy and equal intimate relationships look like.

“Our evidence tells us that one in four young people aged 12 to 24 holds attitudes that put them at risk of perpetrating, excusing or tolerating violence against women,” Barry said.

“The same research tells us that there is an absence of clear, positive role models for young people regarding equal and respectful relationships.

“Our ambassadors promote positive and respectful behaviour on and off the field, I have no doubt this will have an impact on young people.”

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit In an emergency, call 000. For more information about a service in your state or local area download the DAISY App in the App Store or Google Play.

Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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