TELL US: What would you do to keep growing women’s sport?

Riordan Lee Editor

By Riordan Lee, Riordan Lee is a Roar Editor


23 Have your say

    There’s been a veritable explosion of women’s sport in the past few years.

    Most recently, the WBBL and AFLW have been beacons of success for their respective codes, bringing a visibility and prominence previously unseen in women’s sports in Australia.

    The fledgeling AFLW, for instance, boasted average crowds of almost 7000 in its debut season, and repeatedly pulled in bigger TV audiences than male professional competitions like the A-League.

    This success isn’t confined to the professional arena.

    At a grassroots level, women’s AFL is the fastest growing sport in the nation, while female cricket participation continues to grow at over ten per cent year on year.

    (Not to mention the extraordinarily strong position football, basketball and netball have established for themselves.)

    And yet despite all of this, women’s sports in Australia still finds itself with a long and uncertain road ahead.

    In the long-term, carving out a viable chunk of an already saturated sporting landscape will no doubt bring its own challenges, and the quality of the talent pool will need to dramatically improve.

    It is patently essential that women’s sports continue to grow at a grassroots level, as well as build on their great starts and create more compelling professional products.

    What do we need to ensure this happens?

    Are there changes to the professional leagues you’d like to see? Rule modifications? Wage equality?

    And how do we keep participation rates on an upward trajectory?

    Let us know in the comments!

    We’ll be taking on this issue in an upcoming episode of The Roar Podcast with our very own Roar Expert, Mary Konstantopoulos.

    The best responses will be featured on the episode, so make sure to keep an eye out when we launch the podcast before the end of the year.

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    The Crowd Says (23)

    • Roar Guru

      November 15th 2017 @ 2:20pm
      BigJ said | November 15th 2017 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

      I really don’t think that any more can be done to get women’s sport a leg up it has already been done. Over the last twelve months women’s sport has moved than proven a success and that it is just as good to watch if not better than the men’s. This has been proven for decades in tennis and surfing, and now is spreading to games such as league, cricket and AFL, it will be a natural progression that women’s sport will continue to grow and become more popular. Who knows maybe one day the women will take on the men in League, union an cricket. Tennis and horse riding have already done this it’s only a matter of time before other sports catch on. Why surfing has not done it yet is surprising???

      • Roar Guru

        November 15th 2017 @ 5:55pm
        mds1970 said | November 15th 2017 @ 5:55pm | ! Report

        Tennis and horse riding are fine. But men and women in the same game in a body contact sport is an unacceptable risk profile.

    • Roar Guru

      November 15th 2017 @ 3:52pm
      Wayne said | November 15th 2017 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

      Wage Equality won’t happen in my lifetime, but increasing the wages to move the elite codes from amateur to semi-professional to full professional will be the key.

      The WNBL, W-League, WBBL, AFLW players getting pay rises will be good start; equal to effort put in. If they are expected to train (either skills, gym, recovery, meetings), travel, play their entire week for 3 months, then they should be compensated. With the down time used either for part-time work or Uni/Tafe.

      • November 19th 2017 @ 1:04am
        Mitcher said | November 19th 2017 @ 1:04am | ! Report

        Sportspeople aren’t paid for effort put in. Male or female sport being an irrelevant factor in that equation.

        Do low profile Olympic. Sportspeople get paid per effort Unit. No.

        It’s money generated.

        • November 19th 2017 @ 6:01am
          Slane said | November 19th 2017 @ 6:01am | ! Report

          Of course athletes are paid for the amount of effort they put in. If you train and play sport full time you need a wage that reflects a full time job. Otherwise these athletes actually couldn’t train and play sport full time.

    • November 15th 2017 @ 4:05pm
      Russ said | November 15th 2017 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

      I think for women’s sport to really take off, particularly the female AFL, the games administrators need to ensure that there are sufficient facilities to cater for future growth. I’ve been astounded by how women’s footy has exploded over the past 2 years. I’m an inaugural member of the Freo club and I thoroughly enjoyed going to the games and watching it on TV. My local club is now fielding teams up to year 12 and they are now looking at fielding an adult women’s team. The problem is access to training facilities and grounds to play on. Fortunately our local council is in the process of building a 4 oval complex over the next few years.

      I love women’s footy and I am hoping that it continues to grow. It’s a game, it should be enjoyed by all.

      • November 16th 2017 @ 5:01am
        Martin said | November 16th 2017 @ 5:01am | ! Report

        I agree that local governments need to provide ovals.

    • Roar Guru

      November 15th 2017 @ 4:20pm
      Rick Figjam said | November 15th 2017 @ 4:20pm | ! Report

      I’ll be brutally honest: I care little for elite women’s sport. Most around the world (if honest enough) would say the same thing. The level of interest in this article reinforces such a notion too.

      Why? Because all elite sport is nothing more than entertainment, with a majority preferring to watch the absolute best should there be a choice. Women will never compete equally with men in 99 percent of sports — it’s that simple.

      The real question you should be asking is: should we enforce a socialist policy on all elite sports in the same manner we do in society as a whole? Are we all equal and if so, to what extent should elite sportswomen be subsidised by the men?

      AFLW is a classic example of a top-tier women’s competition being heavily subsidised by the men. It’s currently not a self-sustainable model (and that’s not to say it can’t be in the future) and will never generate the level of revenue the men’s competition does. Therefore, do we accept the men will always be paid higher in this particular sport, or do we apply a socialist policy by subsidising the women at the expense (financially) of the men?

      The sport which probably does it best at the elite level is tennis. However, I have no doubt if the women were separated from the men in grand slam events, the crowds and interest in the women’s game would probably drop. It also must be noted the men’s game already heavily subsidises the women substantially when you take content into account i.e. best of 3 vs 5 sets.

      Saying that I believe grand slam events are better overall because of the integration of both men and women. As such, this potentially is one solution to growing other elite women’s competitions.

      Personally, I would apply a socialist policy — to some extent — if we truly believe society should be equitable, despite elite sport being extremely capitalist in nature.

      • Roar Guru

        November 16th 2017 @ 11:29am
        Paul D said | November 16th 2017 @ 11:29am | ! Report

        with you on all of this Rick

        In my view it’s very important sport always strives to maximise participation where possible – excluding half the population from playing at the elite level for their gender over the sake of a few lousy bucks would be a terrible move. It’s why the AFL has done so well in setting up this competition for the women and not balking at paying the bills for it.

        AFL makes shedloads of cash, absolute shedloads and if nothing else funding a women’s comp is necessary insurance to ward off attacks against the left flank that the sport is out of touch or doesn’t reflect society’s views. The knuckle draggers will always be out there but they’re not the sort of fans AFL should be worried about losing through boycotts or declining participation, and indeed they won’t.

        Broadly speaking I think the best way to keep growing women’s sport is to just keep putting it out each year, strive for stability and consistency in the competition. Carve out a niche season in Australia’s sporting calendar and build towards a feeling of permanence, inevitability each year and routine. The hardest part is going to be resisting the urge to tinker with it too much over the next ten years.

      • November 18th 2017 @ 3:01pm
        GJ said | November 18th 2017 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

        Tend to agree with what you’ve outlined. The revenue generation is an interesting though. While at the moment the AFLW doesn’t generate the same sort of crowds, and in fact allows free entry to games, it creating pathways for woman to have a sporting career in AFL. The revenue generation may not be able to measured directly on its own and used for a genuine comparison.

        As a result this is strengthening and growing the overall supporter base that is benefitting the AFL as a whole. More going to mens games, more woman watching the sport on tv, more merchandise sales, more girls choosing AFL over other sports.

    • November 15th 2017 @ 5:26pm
      Pope Paul VII said | November 15th 2017 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

      It’s worth noting that professional sport for males in this country is only about 4 decades old, before that blokes played for the shear love of it.

      Through the AFLW, cricket etc females have have got a glimpse of something to aim for and marvel at.

      I’ve got no problem with female elite sport being subsidised. It strengthens interest in the game no matter who is playing it.

    • November 15th 2017 @ 10:30pm
      Kangajets said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:30pm | ! Report

      More focus on the W league , currently has the most elite female athletes competing from all over the world .

      Also The Matilda’s are on the brink of Olympic gold or winning a World Cup .