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International Women’s Day at the YJFL

The Yarra Junior Football League is delighted to celebrate International Women’s Day and applaud the many women and girls involved within the League.

This year’s International Women’s Day is a day where we can celebrate women’s achievement, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality, with the tagline of the day being #BreakTheBias.

Within the YJFL we have 2500 female players, 116 female teams, three female club Presidents, 65 former players in the AFLW, and four female Board Members which is 50% of the YJFL’s Board. A tremendous achievement when only 11 years ago we introduced our first ever girls’ competition.

Our four female Board Members were asked by YJFL Media what IWD means to them, and what impact that females have had with the League.

Ishbel Moodie (First YJFL Female President)

IWD for me is about celebrating the achievements of our girls and young women and empowering them to speak openly about their accomplishments.

Footy is a wonderful sport for girls as there is room for girls of all ages, shapes and sizes and abilities to get involved and contribute to the team. I encourage our young women to aim to be the best they can be, whether it’s going onto representative footy within our League, community footy in the seniors, NAB League or the AFLW or whether its gaining confidence from umpiring, coaching or volunteering.

The theme for International Women’s Day this year is ‘#BreakTheBias’.

I’d like to raise awareness against gender bias, whether its deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead.

Knowing it exists isn’t enough.

Action is needed to level the playing field.

I call on our male, friends, family members and colleagues to be an ally: to call out gender bias and discrimination when you see it

Imagine a gender equal world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can do it.

Sue Ellen Mackintosh (Marketing Director)

Whilst IWD is an opportunity to reflect closely on the contributions and achievements of women; every day is a celebration.  Being a woman in sports administration provides a fantastic opportunity to show leadership and demonstrate to young adults, particularly in the YJFL, that female involvement is critical in the league’s ongoing success.

IWD also affords a chance to look forward and invite other women to contribute not only within the sports realm but anywhere!  A commitment to equality starts locally.

Maree De Bondt (Player & Participant Welfare Director)

International Women’s Day is a chance to reflect on the role women and girls play in our community.  While there is no doubt we have come a long way in how we engage women and girls in the YJFL, there is always more to be done.

This years IWD theme is “Break the Bias.” “For me this is about working to ensure that there is equality for all genders across the League, ensuring all genders feel welcome and included, and speaking up if I see or perceive gender bias occurring.

An inspirational young woman, Dolly Everett, said “speak even if your voice shakes”.  My commitment on this IWD is to speak up, even if my voice shakes.

Suki Styant-Browne (Director)

When our middle child first started playing junior football, I thought “I don’t know anything about football, but our family will all go to watch the game”. My partner had played football and has loved the game since a young age.

When the team was looking for a team manager, I thought “I can help out, even though I know nothing about the game.”

Since becoming team manager, I joined the committee, became the Secretary, then Vice President then President of the club. I helped start the female footy program at our club. I presided over a committee that was 50% female. I know a lot more about football!

There is a perception that AFL is a predominantly male domain and there is still an unconscious bias towards males at the executive level of community clubs and also the AFL. We need to change this perception through encouraging female participation.

Diversity enriches our favourite game and female participation at both playing and administrative levels bring different skill sets and points of view. The only way that female football will grow is if our younger generation see women involved in all aspects of the game – playing, coaching and administering. Strong women make our game stronger.

On this International Women’s Day, the YJFL celebrates the females who contribute to the success of our league!

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