This weekend’s round of fixtures celebrates AFL Women’s Round, acknowledging the valuable contribution of women to Australia’s Game. It also focuses on recognising and developing female leadership across all levels of the Australian football industry, from community to the elite.

Fremantle will honour the ladies of the game at this Sunday’s game against Greater Western Sydney when members of the club’s female supporter group, the Sirens, will form a guard of honour to welcome the players out onto Patersons Stadium.

A range of activities will take place across the AFL during the week, headlined by the AFL Women’s Industry Luncheon on Friday July 20 and culminating in several match day events across the weekend.

A key element of this year’s luncheon will be the inaugural Jill Lindsay Oration.

The Oration will be held each year in memory of Jill Lindsay, the longest-serving employee in the history of the VFL / AFL and the only woman in the competition’s history to be honoured with Life Membership.

Jill began at the then-VFL in 1970 as an office clerk and rose through the ranks to become AFL Ground Operations Manager from 1991, a role she held until sadly passing away from cancer in February 2011.

AFL Chief Operating Officer Gillon McLachlan said the contribution of women and girls is critical to the development and growth of the game.

“On a day-to-day basis we are reliant on vast numbers of women across every aspect of football around the country, particularly the many who help lead and shape our game, McLachlan said.

“It’s important to not only recognise female leaders currently involved in the AFL industry, but to also encourage women and girls to pursue a pathway in Australian football. The women’s mentoring program and the Leadership Forum this week are terrific examples of our efforts to develop the next generation of leaders.

“The AFL and the AFL industry have made a good start over a number of years in ensuring the involvement of women at all levels of our game, but we also recognise that there is still much more to achieve.”

Key women in football statistics include:

• Last year, there were more than 94,400 female players involved in NAB AFL Auskick, primary school competitions, youth girls’ competitions and women’s leagues. This represents a 29 per cent increase over a 12 month period.

• The start of 26 new junior and youth girls’ competitions attracted more than 5000 new players.

• And there are more than 700 female AFL football umpires as well as 1500 accredited female coaches.

• 42 per cent of the national television viewing audience is female.

• 35 per cent of AFL and club members are female, with an increase of 6,551 members last year.

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