Hosted by Aish Ravi, founder of the Women’s Coaching Association who was joined by JMF Community Coaches Tiffany Stanley and Patrick Coleman as well as Young Matildas head coach Leah Blayney, the panel talked through a range of issues surrounding participation of Indigenous women in all levels of the world game.
Stanley, who played football for many years before entering into coaching, said a lack of confidence was a big reason for the current gender inequality, due to youngsters not having enough role models in their life to inspire them to take the next step and get involved.
“A lot of female coaches lack confidence,” she said.
“I think having an all female course with a female director or being able to shadow current female coaches would be a huge step.”
“Growing up Indigenous kids come from all different backgrounds, so having an Indigenous female role model in their life is important to inspire them to believe in themselves and just take that chance to grow.
“Just be confident, and don’t give up.”
Coleman, who hails from Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory where AFL sees the bulk of participation from young people, echoed Stanley’s sentiment as he thinks more female role models could have a huge impact on increasing diversity for the game, for the current generation as well as the next.
“It promotes more involvement for young girls in schools,” Coleman said when discussing the value of community organisations placing an emphasis on gender equality.
“When they see female coaches, they’re more likely to join in and it empowers them. Young girls being able to see what other females are capable of will empower them to become leaders.”
A fantastic milestone to reach for #IFW21!! After 10 years of JMF delivery, the #Borroloola School oval now has #footballgoals. Congrats to everyone involved in making this happen, including our dedicated JMF Borroloola coaching team ⚽️ 🙌 pic.twitter.com/DsPVn391N2
— JohnMoriartyFootball (@FootballJMF) November 23, 2021
Blayney, who is currently completing a pro coaching license and resides over the Future Matildas and Young Matildas teams, said she is seeing a difference in the growth of female players in the professional sphere, but that there needs to be continued focus on gender equality at all levels of the game to generate further opportunities for all.
“The game is definitely growing, and women’s football is becoming more professional,” she said.
“But are we done yet? Are we satisfied? Absolutely not.
“Empowering people in certain environments is key. We have really good people already and it’s about providing them with resources and setting them up for success. At the end of the day it’s about having anybody with a genuine love for sport immersing themselves in the world of football.”
While the panel all acknowledged more work needs to be done, one thing they could agree on was that the future of football, for Indigenous women and all women, certainly looks bright.
“I think we’ll see more women in football, and more indigenous girls growing to love the game of football,” Stanley said.
“It’s looking good, cause you’ve got kids asking when the next session is,” Coleman said of the football clinics he runs in Indigenous communities.
“We’re starting to introduce more diversity and more environments are becoming more inclusive,” Blayney said of the women’s football community.
“That’s only going to breed more success in the football landscape.”
You can watch the discussion in full here, before the next panel tomorrow at 4pm (AEDT) on the John Moriarty Football and SBS Sport Facebook pages.
SBS acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia.