Member Insights: Women in Sport

17 Jun Member Insights: Women in Sport

By Arts & Culture Working Group Leader, Matthew Edward Taylor. Originally posted on LinkedIn.

AFL National Women’s League is a victory not just for football, but for all women in Australia 

Last night, the Henley Club in Melbourne was fortunate to host Chyloe Kurdas, an incredibly dedicated, generous and inspiring woman who has played a pivotal role (on and off the field!) in making the pipe dream of an AFL women’s league a reality.  The event just so happened to fall on an historic day, coinciding with the public announcement of the inaugural national women’s competition that will kick off in 2017.

Attendees gained tremendous insight into the role that football plays in Australian culture and society, the impact of sport on individuals and the community, human rights activism, equal opportunity and affirmative action, gender roles and hyper-masculinity, and an effective strategy to pipeline women in leadership and management roles.  As the Female Development Manager of AFL Victoria, the vision and efforts of Chyloe Kurdas (a former footballer) have been instrumental in tackling the ingrained culture of Australian Rules Football so that women feel welcome, accepted, safe and empowered.

One big takeaway from the event was Chyloe’s lived experience, from deep within the male-dominated football code, that patriarchy (and its associated “masculine” identity) is oppressive to both the women it excludes and diminishes and also the men it apparently serves and benefits.  We have a lot to learn from this passionate and inspiring woman, and I am excited to support the AFL National Women’s League in 2017.