It is my privilege to present the Women Onside 2022 Annual report and my first as Chair of this amazing organisation. An annual report is a welcome opportunity for healthy reflection within. It’s also an opportunity to examine our achievements, our direction, our learnings and the progress we’ve made to significantly improve engagement, access, opportunity and empowerment for all women involved in football.
This report is a positive reminder of what can be achieved when we continue to stand up and push forward for women in football and women’s football, everywhere.
In May we achieved a significant milestone in our organisational maturity when we launched the Women Onside 2022-24 Strategic Plan. This inaugural plan builds on the progress of our current work and maintains the overarching themes that guide our organisation daily: advocacy, professional development, networking and policy development. This roadmap will help us focus even more purposefully on our strategic priorities for the upcoming years. We want to thank Lucy Carter who expertly facilitated our strategic planning workshop.
Another significant milestone this year was the appointment of our first employee, Laura Noble. Laura is our part-time Membership and Communications Coordinator and much of the work you see in the public realm comes from Laura’s talented administration. This appointment was made possible by a generous, and anonymous, donation. You know who you are, and we thank you.
Our professional development offering continues to go from strength to strength and we are proud to provide an Integrated Leadership Pathway consisting of:
Advocacy for the 40-40-20 rule to be embedded throughout the football governance structure
Getting on Board masterclass series
Onside Mentoring program; and
Women in Football Leadership Conference
Life-changing, heartwarming and dedicated are some of the words that come to mind when I reflect on the work of the Afghan Football Support Network, set up by Women Onside and led by Asma Mirzae (former Women Onside Director), in supporting the Afghan women’s football team and their families when they came to Australia after fleeing Afghanistan in August 2021. Women Onsiders Joanna Charaktis, Allyson Flynn, Moya Dodd, Kieran Pender and Asma Mirzae played critical roles in helping to get the players out of Afghanistan and into Australia. This network galvanised the women’s football community and rallied support, food and clothing and cash donations for the players. It’s a network that has at its heart human connections, emotions of the players and their supporters, the pain of the experience and hope for the future. The players’ Australian journey has only just begun and we look forward to seeing what they achieve in their playing careers at Melbourne Victory Football Club. Thank you to everyone involved and everyone who donated, you have changed lives.
On a personal note, I very much enjoyed connecting with and listening to our members on the Women Onside Roadshow that took me to Canberra, Wollongong, Sydney, Newcastle, Perth and Brisbane. Thank you for sharing your stories and the issues that are important to you, they very much inform the work of Women Onside. Sorry I couldn’t get around all of Australia, I look forward to catching up with you in 2023!
Looking forward we will:
Continue to move the dial towards 40-40-20 gender diversity across our governance structures.
Build a highly visible integrated leadership pathway for women in football.
Provide networks and chapters for members to engage and support each other.
Celebrate and amplify Legacy ’23 and other activities in the lead up to and during the 2023 World Cup.
I want to thank our Women Onside team, particularly our volunteer Board, Company Secretary and Bookkeeper and our members and donors for being on this journey with us. Together we will progress women’s football and women in football, everywhere.
Yours in Football, Kerry