4 min read

AFL Targets Major Women’s Football Growth In Nine-Year Plan


The AFL has revealed its Women’s Football Vision for 2021-2030, with the league targeting major growth for the AFLW and community women’s football.

Among the key targets for the growth plan are:

  • At least 50% of AFLW senior coaching positions to be held by women
  • AFLW athletes to become the best paid sportswomen in a domestic competition in Australia
  • Strong and visible pathways for administrators to ensure women are positioned for senior football positions
  • Equal participation and representation across all levels of community football
  • Having the most engaged audience across any women’s sporting competition in Australia
  • Attracting and retaining corporate partners who share the AFL’s vision for women’s football

Announcing the strategic plan, AFL general manager of women’s football, Nicole Livingstone, said the AFL is committed to making Australian football the most accessible, inclusive, visible sport in the country and the number one sporting choice for girls and women.

“Women have been playing football for more than 100 years with the earliest known competitive women’s game played in Perth in 1915,” Livingstone said.

“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.

“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,” she said.

Immediately following the announcement, the AFL also revealed the launch of the Women’s Coach Acceleration Program as part of its plan to reach at least 50% of AFLW senior coaching positions held by women.

The program will allow all AFL clubs to apply to be awarded one of six available positions, with successful applicants to be employed by an AFL club for a minimum of two years and given an opportunity to take on a coaching role within an AFL or AFLW program.

The program will be co-funded by the winning clubs, the AFL, and relevant soft cap exemptions applied during the program.

A Women’s Senior Coach Acceleration Steering Committee comprising of Laura Kane, Brad Scott, Nicole Livingstone, Julia Lawrence, and Belinda Clark, will oversee the program.

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