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Outstanding! The Women in Football Leadership Conference

The Women in Football Leadership conference presented by Women Onside that took place in late September has been hailed as an outstanding success.

This first time event attracted over 110 participants from Australia and overseas. The three-hour program featured:

  • three keynote speakers;

  • a set of breakout group workshops looking at the future of women in football; and

  • pledges to improve opportunities for women’s football/women in football.

Chair of the Conference Organising Committee Kerry Harris said that the conference was a stunning success. "The quality of the keynote presentations and the high level of engagement of participants in the break-out groups were key factors. The valuable information and pledges gathered at the conference will play a strong role in shaping the strategic direction for Women Onside", Kerry said.

"The success of this inaugural conference has inspired Women Onside to plan another one."

Kerry Harris -Organising Committee Chair

Event Host, NSW Nicki Bowman was proud of the conference's contribution to women's football. "It was fabulous to see how engaged and passionate all of the speakers and attendees were about the potential of women's football. Just as importantly, there is now potential for women to have a far greater voice in influencing the future of our game," Nicki said.

"It's been a long time coming but there's no stopping us now!"

Nicki Bowman - Host

The event was presented in an online format because of Covid restrictions on travel and gathering. It took advantage of online capabilities to bring in a top-class international speaker, set up and manage small groups and to record proceedings.

Breakout groups

After hearing from the keynote speakers the participants divided into breakout groups for in-depth discussions on:

  1. Who will the football decision makers be and how will football be governed?

  2. How will women influence the football economy?

  3. What will the future images of women and girls in football tell us?

  4. How can male allies influence the future of women and girls in football?

  5. Why will women and girls choose football over other sports or physical activity?

  6. How can we minimize or manage any backlash to progress?

Pledge commitments

The pledge commitments from organisations and individuals are still being collected (you can add yours here). The pledges are being collated into an online pledge book which will be able to be followed up six and twelve months to help measure the impact of the conference.


Women Onside would like to thank the Organising Committee (Kerry Harris, Moya Dodd, Nicki Bowman and Cheryl Downes) and Conference Coordinator Juliet Tetley of Suiko Consulting for their creativity and hard work.

Thanks also to the breakout group leaders Amy Chapman, Cheryl Downes, Eilidh Mackay, Fran Sankey, Heather Reid and Janette Spencer and the students from Deakin University, Griffith University and the University of Canberra who acted as breakout group scribes.

Women Onside members and conference attendees will soon be sent a link to the conference keynote presentations.

The Conference Report and the Pledge Book are currently in production.


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