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Just one-third of Australian football grounds are female-friendly

Fewer than one-third of football fields nationwide have basic facilities for women, like female toilets or change-rooms.

As the new AFLW season begins, bringing with it two new teams in the first phase of expansion, the AFL’s Head of Women’s Football Nicole Livingstone has raised the need for greater investment in improving female facilities at suburban grounds.

“When we look at our facilities and all of the infrastructure that has gone out across the nation and support from state, federal and local government authorities, we are still only just shy of 30 percent of our venues being female-friendly,” Livingstone told Macquarie Sports Radio‘s Cam Reddin.

“These are all post-war facilities that were built only with men in mind in regards to sporting pursuits,” she said.

With another four teams being added to the AFLW next season – Richmond, Gold Coast, St Kilda and West Coast – even more opportunities for women to make a career out of football will open up.

However, poor, under-funded or in some cases non-existent facilities at sporting grounds are preventing many from kicking a footy or blowing a whistle at all.

“We are trying to encourage female coaches and umpires to participate in the game (as well as players). That adds another layer of difficulty in these venues that just don’t cater for women and girls,” Livingstone said.

“When they’re little kids they can get away with not showering, but you still need to be able to have the absolute basics [like] bathrooms and an area where you are able to segregate boys and girls and they feel safe,” she said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week announced a $15 million investment in the Brisbane Lions’ training and administration facility at Springfield, including plans for a boutique 10,000-seat stadium.

“I’m really pleased Queensland has secured this funding through the Lions. We need a facility up there for women’s football,” Livingstone said.

Click below to hear the full interview. Listen to the Weekend Warm-Up with Cam Reddin – 4.00am-7.00am Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Cam Reddin