Latest News

Back to Latest News back


AFL clubs urged to appoint women in leadership roles

AFL clubs urged to appoint women in leadership roles
May 9, 2014

The installation three women as the leaders of clubs within three to five years is a realistic goal, says AFL Commissioner Sam Mostyn. 

In a season where "everything's possible" has been celebrated, a report at says that the League has taken some strong steps towards bringing more women into the game.

This follows the introduction of a key strategy from inside AFL headquarters that will roll out over the next three years focusing on gender diversity.

While the first club president - Richmond's Peggy O'Neal - was appointed last year, Mostyn has encouraged more clubs to be "courageous" in considering women for the role of chief executive and in key leadership groups.

Mostyn told at the recent AFL Women's Industry Lunch "I think we should be bold and think about where those women are and can we start building succession within the industry or do we look outside the industry as many industries do when they're looking for business leaders?

"I just don't think we should hold ourselves to the thinking these are roles that can only be conducted by men and there are many women I think (who) would like to have a go at handing in their credentials to be considered."

AFL Commission Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick and newly appointed Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan have both identified the need for greater diversity within the game.

Fitzpatrick, speaking at the lunch, said that shift needed to "start from the top down".

The introduction of the gender diversity strategy, run by AFL General Manager Customer, Community and People Dorothy Hisgrove is designed to see more women appointed in leadership roles.

Hisgrove detailed the plan at the lunch and revealed a female advisory council, comprising of "pre-eminent male and female industry leaders from sporting and corporate backgrounds" would be established.

Mostyn, who became the first AFL Commissioner in 2005 before being joined by the Honourable Linda Dessau in 2008, said she would also like to see a national women's league "well on the way" to being established in the next three years.

But she said the installation of Geelong's Rosie King as stand-in Cats' Chief Executive last year showed clubs were starting to realise it wasn't a job "exclusively for the domain of men."

She also encouraged women outside of football to consider applying for such positions, adding "I think we're not using 50% of the talent pool of seasoned business people who probably don't realise they could turn their talents to running a football club as part of their business career.

"I think we should just be courageous about this and make sure we're looking at the broadest talent pool and that we've set ourselves some expectation that if there was a woman who wanted to, we would look at her and give her that opportunity at the right club at the right time."

The AFL has abolished themed rounds this year but the yearly lunch, held ahead of the recent Field of Women event at the MCG, featured a keynote speaker.

The Jill Lindsay Oration, delivered this year by Dr Judith Slocombe – Chief Executive of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation – is designed to honour the legacy of the late long-time AFL administrator.

Dr Slocombe, who has nine children, is on four boards and started her own veterinary diagnostic business that expanded to become the biggest across Australia and New Zealand before she sold it.

Her talk centered around keeping up the belief that everything was possible when juggling multiple responsibilities, and said she "found her own way to lead" in her number of roles.

Dr Slocombe stated "I didn't fit the traditional picture of a leader – that masculine vision of a leader that we have."

She said the AFL's gender diversity strategy was an "an exciting step" in the commitment to the increase of women's involvement, concluding "it will show a whole generation of young women that everything is possible."

Click here to view the original article published by Jennifer Phelan at AFL Media.


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

@leisure Planners

@leisure is a team of experienced leisure, aquatic and sports facility managers and planners, with market modelling, sports management, recreation planning, business and GIS qualifications. We have…

read more




    SimplySwim is a school management solution that helps swimming school owners and managers optimize operations by automating functions such as managing class schedules, billing and…

read more

Aquatics / Education / Recreation / Safety / Technology


Goplay Commercial Playground Equipment

Goplay designs and manufactures specialised playground equipment for indoor play centres, hotels, food chains, clubs and resorts. If our years of experience and dedication have taught us one thing,…

read more




AUSTRALIAN MADE. FIT FOR PURPOSE. Based on the Gold Coast, AlphaFit is a leading manufacturer and supplier of Australian gym equipment specifically for the commercial, strength and conditioning,…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness


Polin Waterparks

Polin was founded in Istanbul in 1976, and has since grown into a leading company in the waterparks industry. Today Polin is one of the world leaders in the design, production, and installation of…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Waterparks



BODY BIKE® International is a leading manufacturer of indoor bikes with a 20-year track record of creating the best indoor bikes. Stay connected with Body Bike Australia…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness


Hadley/Series Australia Pty Ltd

Hadley Australia and Series Australia Pty Ltd are the leading quality theatre chair manufacturers in the southern hemisphere. The businesses work closely with architects, interior designers and…

read more

Arts / Culture / Design / Entertainment / Venues



As of 2018, TicketServ operates as SeatGeek Asia Pacific Pty Limited, part of international ticketing platform SeatGeek. Click here to contact SeatGeek Asia Pacific via their entry in…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Events / Sport / Ticketing


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business