News from the front.

Successful World Cup Bid Gives Generational Opportunity to Advance Game

June 26, 2020 The success of the combined Australia/New Zealand bid in hosting the 2023 World Cup is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for change says Women in Football. “This win is an enormous boost to women’s football as well as the game,” said Women in Football President, Bonita Mersiades. “Well done to Football Federation Australia and Football New Zealand for putting together a compelling case as hosts, and focussing on what is important. “Plaudits are also due to FIFA for its much improved process for evaluating and voting on the bids. Making the votes open and the voters accountable were important measures in bringing greater transparency to the process,” Mersiades said. “We know that we will co-host a great World Cup with New Zealand, and those who attend will have a great time. However, Women in Football believe that it is important that there is a lasting legacy from hosting the event. "There are six outcomes Women in Football would like to see achieved out of the next three years to help the women’s game and women involved with football more broadly into the future.” They are: Better and more facilities for the sport overall, with a focus on women and girls. More girls taking up the sport. Improved and more competition structures nationally for girls and women. More women coaches and referees. More media attention for women’s football and football in general. More women in positions of executive and management influence. “We look forward to working with the football community to help make this happen. “We don’t want to be in the position once the ‘party’ of the World Cup is over to find there are no substantial gains for football. “That happened in relation to the Sydney 2000 Olympics and the 2015 Asian Cup. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for a seminal shift in how women’s football is placed, how women’s sport is perceived, and also what football can do in terms of soft diplomacy and political and corporate power. “The Women’s World Cup is not a ‘developmental tournament’ but a significant global sporting event in its own right. “All of Australia and New Zealand should feel rightly proud as well as privileged to be the next hosts.”

Women in Football Welcomes FIFA Evaluation of 2023 Bid

11 June 2020 Women in Football Australia has welcomed the release of the bid evaluation reports for the 2023 World Cup and says it puts the joint Australia/New Zealand bid in a strong position. The bid evaluation report has rated Australia/New Zealand as the leaders with 4.1 points out of five across a number of criteria. Japan has 3.9 points and Colombia 2.8 points. “What is pleasing about the bid evaluation is that it rates the Australia/New Zealand bid strongly on commercial viability,” said committee member and former Matilda, Heather Garriock. The joint Australia/New Zealand bid is supported by USD$76 million of government guarantees. “In addition to the commercial issues, everyone knows that both our countries have hosted significant sporting events previously, including FIFA youth tournaments. “We’re also two of a handful of countries in the world who have handled the coronavirus pandemic not just well, but outstandingly well,” said Garriock. “Hosting a World Cup would be a dream come true. “It would be massive for both countries and for girls’ and women’s football and help give football a boost,” Garriock said. If the Australia/New Zealand bid is successful, it will be the first time the Women’s World Cup has been held in the southern hemisphere and the first involving the Oceania Football Confederation, FIFA’s smallest regional confederation. The 37-person FIFA Council will make the decision on the winners on June 25.

W-League needs more investment to be one of the top world leagues

24 October 2019 With the 12th season of the W-League about to get underway, Women in Football Australia Inc has circulated a discussion paper calling on Australian football’s stakeholders for greater investment in the game if it is to be one of the top leagues in the world. The discussion paper, entitled Improving Opportunities for Professional Women's Football, also states that a decision should be made on whether the W-League is a ‘development’ or ‘elite’ level league. “While we appreciate the W-League’s future is in the hands of the Australian Professional Football Clubs’ Association, this is a mission critical issue for FFA and football’s stakeholders, and is an issue of relevance and interest to the broader football community,” according to Women in Football. “In a nutshell, if it is to be one of the best leagues in the world, the W-League needs significant investment and attention from the clubs – not just for the sake of the competition itself but for Australia’s top players.” The discussion paper suggests that without improvement to the W-League, Australia’s top players, such as Matildas capatain Sam Kerr, may be better advised to play elsewhere if they are to receive “just attention, recognition and reward internationally”. Women in Football believe that if the W-League is to be a development league, then a national second tier competition should be introduced for women in addition to men. The discussion paper highlights four key issues that need to be addressed by football’s stakeholders including: the need for women players to play more games, with a suggestion that an Asian Champions League and a FFA Cup be introduced for women; more consistent match scheduling and venues; understanding the fanbase of women’s football, including deleting dual social media channels for the W-League and A-League; and greater investment. “The pushback on the issues we raise is anticipated to be around lack of finances. However, with the increased interest in , and scrutiny on, women’s sport, we suggest there is enormous scope for improvement in the level of sponsors for the W-League, the Matildas and women’s and girls’ football more broadly.” Women in Football has sought comment and feedback on the discussion paper by the end of November, and indicate that this is the first in a series of discussion papers they will be issuing on matters of interest. Women in Football was formed to highlight and address the low representation of women at governance and management levels of the sport which, in turn, has an impact on the level of advocacy for the women's game. ENDS A copy of the discussion paper can be found in our Resources section.

Women in Football launches to support gender equality in the sport

26 June 2019 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 Association was launched today by the NSW Minister for Sport, the Hon John Sidoti, 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 to elite level 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 the cost of $25 annually. To join the association, sign up at ENDS

Women's Role in Sport Pivotal to Growth of Grassroots

May 3, 2021

More than half of all women who are involved in sport have experienced some form of discrimination in the past two years according to a research report released by Women in Football Australia Inc (WiF).

The research report, entitled ‘Play. Watch. Do.’ looks at the involvement of women in football as players, parents of players, consumers and volunteers.

The research was conducted by Core Data in February 2021 and found that discrimination was most prevalent for young women aged 18-30 years.

Amongst women involved in football, discrimination was experienced by

  • 89.4% of those who play the game;
  • 42% of those with children who play; and
  • by 74.8% of those who are volunteers in the game.

The major forms of discrimination were reported as being suggestive comments, inappropriate behaviour, or bypassed for high level roles as a volunteer.

The report also found a high correlation between the number of children who play a sport and the number of women who are involved as volunteers in the same sport.

While 15% of grassroots volunteers are Football volunteers, when it comes to women whose children play, more than one-in-four mums (25.7%) are volunteers.

Almost two-in-five women are aware that Australia is to co-host the women’s football World Cup in 2023, but amongst those who are involved in the game the awareness rate doubles. Almost two-thirds of all women have an interest in attending a game.

The respondents identified the priority issues for improving the involvement of women in football as access (75.4%), cost (48.9%) and safety (48.1%).

The report outlines a number of areas where football federations and clubs could take action to increase the contribution and improve the experience of women involved in football, including:

  • examining further the findings in relation to discrimination, sexism and sexist attitudes;
  • examining different models for engaging volunteers; and
  • providing incentives for grassroots clubs to improve their engagement with women in the game.

WiF concludes in the report that professional sport cannot survive and prosper without strong grassroots, as it increases opportunities for inclusivity and growth; it is the source of future players, coaches and officials; and it also helps enhance credibility and reputation.

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A copy of the report Play. Watch. Do. is available here.