NAB AFLW players will become the best paid sportswomen in an Australian domestic competition and at least half of the AFLW senior coaches will be women by 2030, according to the AFL's newly released Women's Football Vision.
Encompassing all levels of female football, from elite to juniors and grassroots and inclusive of administration, umpiring and coaching, the Vision sets out the AFL's overarching goals for the next decade.
Other "aspirational targets" of the Vision include:
- Equal participation and representation in community footy by 2030
- Strong and visible pathways for administrators to ensure women are positioned for senior football roles
- The most engaged audience across any women's sporting competition in Australia
- Attract and retain corporate partners who share in the Women's Football Vision
The Vision does not lay out the progression of the lengthening of the AFLW season (currently 10 rounds and three weeks of finals for 14 teams, having begun with seven rounds and a Grand Final for eight teams in 2017), nor indicate when footballers will become full-time.
Participation rates in women's football have skyrocketed since the inception of the AFLW.
In 2016 (the year the competition was announced), there were 983 community women's teams and 380,000 women and girls playing, which has risen to more than 2500 teams and 600,000 players.
WOMEN'S FOOTY VISION Check out the full document
Currently, 47 per cent of venues host women's football, but only 35 per cent have "female friendly" changerooms.
Based on 2019 figures, 10.5 per cent of umpires and 6.8 per cent of coaches are women (inclusive of community footy).
The Vision also calls out that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and women are underrepresented at all levels of the sport, and face additional challenges "including dealing with the intersection of racism and sexism and the corresponding social, economic, political impacts," with access to facilities due to the remote or regional location of communities another factor.
Three pillars have been identified to help direct the development of women's football – participation (inclusive of coaching, umpiring and administration), pathways and performance, and partnerships.
The AFL's new program workplay – a platform which connects players and prospective employers to assist in work flexibility – is also included in the Vision.
"Women have been playing football for more than 100 years with the earliest known competitive women’s game played in Perth in 1915. From then on, there are countless moments where women have overcome significant barriers to be able to play the game they love and it is a credit to those who paved the way for current and future stars on and off the field," AFL GM of women's football Nicole Livingstone said.
"The contribution and persistence of each of those pioneering individuals who pushed and pushed for women to play football should never be forgotten. It is thanks to each pioneer that we are here today, where 600,000 women and girls participate in Australian Football and where all 18 AFL clubs will field an AFLW team by the seventh season.
"Our Women’s Football Vision is a reflection of the AFL’s absolute commitment to continuing to build on the work of those pioneers and to progress Australian Football at every level of the game.
"We are working towards a future where women’s sport continues to be more visible and more valued, where there is equal opportunity for women to play, coach, umpire, administer and govern the game, where talent pathways are visible and well-resourced, where we have 18 teams in high-performance environments and where our AFLW players are the highest paid domestic sportswomen in the country.
"Five seasons in and our AFLW competition has made great headway, however we have much work to do. Our mission remains to accelerate the growth of the AFLW economy to create greater opportunities on and off the field for our best women players and administrators.
"The Vision also reinforces the AFL’s commitment to increasing representation and diversity across all facets of football and ensuring more women are recruited into senior football roles at the AFL and at clubs, including coaching across both men’s and women’s programs.
"From a community football perspective, and it is important we continue to strengthen participation from NAB AFL Auskick to junior and senior community football in environments that are equally safe and inclusive."