The success of the AFLW in encouraging women and girls to play Australian Football is paving the way for a national uptake in sports participation by females, with new research confirming over 550,000 women now play one of the four main football codes in Australia.
Roy Morgan Research, an Australian market research company headquartered in Melbourne, has released figures on the current state of female sport participation in Australia.
In the last 12 months to December 2018, participation in Australian Rules Football is up by 21,000 to 176,000 women, with nearly 400,000 women also playing Soccer.
Both Soccer and Australian Football are well ahead of the two rugby codes with 67,000 Australian women now playing Rugby League and 32,000 Australian women now playing Rugby Union.
As Australia’s largest State, it is not surprising that New South Wales is the home of female football players in Australia – with 207,000 women playing football of one sort or another in New South Wales followed by Victoria with 139,000 and Queensland with 89,000.
New South Wales is the home of Women’s Soccer in Australia with over 170,000 women playing the sport while Victoria has more women playing Australian Football (77,000) than any other State and Queensland has more women playing Rugby League (35,000) than any other State.
Michele Levine, CEO Roy Morgan, says the first-ever AFL Women’s finals series being contested at the moment is an important milestone for Women’s Football with four new teams joining AFLW next year and increasing numbers of women and girls playing footy.
“Over 550,000 Australian women are now playing football of one sort or another whether Australian Football, Soccer, Rugby League or Rugby Union.
“Although this number has increased by only 6,000 from a year ago the growth has been driven by an increasing number of women and girls playing Australian Football, up by 21,000 to 176,000.
“The success of the AFLW in engaging the interest of the community has been highlighted this week with the widespread support expressed for Carlton’s Tayla Harris after an iconic image of the AFLW player was targeted by online trolls.
“The swift response by media commentators and other social media users to condemn the harassment of Harris shows the growing influence and importance placed on Women’s sport as coverage and interest continue to increase.
“The increasing interest in women’s sport of all types including the football codes provides an increasingly lucrative platform for companies looking to capture a share of this emerging market while it goes through a significant growth phase.”