Australian football celebrates 100 years of women's football progress

Football Australia in partnership with its nine (9) Member Federations today celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the first recorded public women’s football match. 

In front of 10,000 people at the GABBA on 24 September 1921, North Brisbane and South Brisbane hit the pitch.  With the flame sparked, the subsequent century has seen the women’s game build to unprecedented popularity. 

Football Australia CEO, James Johnson reflected on the anniversary for women’s football and the progress achieved since the first days. 

This is an incredible milestone for football in this country.  Our game has come so far since the first public match was played at the Gabba in 1921.

“From the pioneering women of the early 1970s, to the hundreds of thousands involved in playing, coaching, officiating and administration, the contribution of women in football is immeasurable.  They have built a wonderful platform for the game which now sees our Commonwealth Bank Matildas as the most recognisable and most loved women’s national team in the country today.

“The participation footprint of the women’s game continues to grow and is vital to the continued growth of Australian football as we build towards becoming the first Australian sport to achieve a 50:50 gender participation balance by 2027, as part of our vision to become the centre of women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Former Commonwealth Bank Matilda and current Head of Women’s Football, Women’s World Cup Legacy and Inclusion, Sarah Walsh warmly anticipates what the next couple of years hold for the women’s game.

As we head into an exciting next couple of years for football in the lead up to the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™, Football Australia is committed to continuing to make our game open, accessible and the sport of choice women and girls.

“The FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ and our ambitious Legacy ’23 Plan provides football with an exciting opportunity to accelerate change off the pitch.  The platform has been set by the women of our past and, working with our Member Federations, we can realise our bold and ambitious vision for the future.”

The milestone day has been celebrated nationally with Member Federations recognising the pioneers in their own regions across social and digital media. 

Located at Football Queensland headquarters, a mural designed by local artist Sarah Sculley in collaboration with indigenous artist Kim Walmsley has been commissioned featuring many of the pioneers, the present stars and contributors and the future of the game. 

Current Commonwealth Bank Matildas midfielder Katrina Gorry said:  

In the time I have been involved in the game, women’s football has grown so much and there's so many more opportunities available to women and girls.”

“Our national team shows how popular we are for people and there's just a clear pathway now.  For young footballers, there are players that they're able to look up to, and games are on TV all the time. It's just been awesome to see it grow so far.”

More information on the national celebrations can be found on the here

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