The Women Onside Football Leadership Tracker


There’s good news… and bad news... or actually it’s not news..... you already sort of knew. But here’s the stats.


The two numbers to remember are 41% (good) and 10% (pretty bad).


Women continue to emerge as leaders in governance roles in our national and State Football organisations.


But the bad news is that the top governance roles and top paid professional roles continue to be dominated by men.


First the good news.

As the following chart shows, women now make up reasonable proportions of the national and state governing body boards. That’s good.


One of the key factors in the increase in the proportion of women on football governing body boards is the pressure from Commonwealth and State government agencies on governing bodies to have more fairly balanced boards governing sport*.


Figure 1 - Football Australia and its Member States – Proportion of Women on Boards – March 2022



These numbers are slightly better than six months ago. In August last year the proportion of women overall on FA/MS boards was 38%. In March the number of women directors had gone up to 31, (more than the previous 27 in August) and representing 41% of all directors. Most states did better than that 41% and none fell back as the following chart shows.


Figure 2 - Football Australia and its Member States – Proportion of Women on Boards – March 2022 and August 2021


Furthermore, if we look at the top of those boards, the proportion of women as Chair/President has remained steady at a solid 30%, with Helene O’Neill, Fran Sankey and Antonella Care still in the roles they held 12 months ago.


However, it all goes downhill from there.


Once we go beyond the boards of our governing bodies’ the picture for women at the top is bleak.


There are no women Chief Executives in the 10 governing bodies.


There are no women Chairs/Presidents amongst the 12 Australian Premier Leagues clubs* and there is only 1 woman Chief Executive amongst those clubs. Well done Caroline Carnegie at Melbourne Victory.


When we add it up, looking at the chairs and CEO’s – Australian football’s leadership cohort – women hold a mere 10% of those leadership roles.


That means there’s a long way to go before we see women in football, everywhere.





* As a general rule a level of at least 40% minimum of women is seen as acceptable. This is often referred to as 40-40-20, meaning 40% men, 40% women and 20% either. Some States have specific barriers to access to government support if this target is not achieved. As yet this expectation does not extend to clubs and lower level associations.


** Canberra United which operates under the auspices of Capital Football is not a member of the APL although it competes in the A-League Women competition. So Capital Football data is not included here.