As the AFLW gears up for a season without a female senior coach, we should be on red alert.
Often it appears like female coaches are relegated to the situation of a high-school job hunter. They have all the enthusiasm to do the job but employers seem to want to see more experience before handing over the reigns.
Although, how do you gain experience when no one gives you a go?
The AFLW, once thought of as one of the choice employers for women in sport, has regressed from two female coaches (Bec Goddard and Michelle Cowan) in its debut season to likely zero in the upcoming 2021/22 season.
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The incumbent clubs have no female senior coaches after Nick Dal Santo signed on for next season at St Kilda. Hawthorn have signed Goddard to coach in their maiden AFLW campaign in 2022/23.
Only three women (Peta Searle, Cowan and Goddard) have held a senior coaching role in the AFLW.
It's not to say that no male coaches should exist in AFLW, it is handy to pick the brains of a three-time All-Australian about midfield craft.
However, why did the AFL decide to give the AFLW a green light? Was it meant to grow into just another revenue stream? Or was it to drive and create opportunity for women in sport?
While it will grow the former in time, it seems to be doing an emphatically bad job at the latter.
Legendary netball coach Lisa Alexander has called for quotas to ensure the AFLW corrects the imbalance.
You've got more people involved, different genders involved at the same time, there's a different perspective and a different lens- Debbie Lee on the value of women's sport
"The AFL are not doing enough. They almost need to bring in a quota system to actually force the clubs to put in women head coaches for the AFLW," Alexander told AAP earlier this year.
"It happens in corporate Australia, it happens in our political area and only 10 per cent of our Olympic coaches are women."
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It is an issue some codes are trying to solve and some codes are doing better than others in this regard. Salliann Beams has become highly-regarded for her work with the Hobart Hurricanes in the WBBL and Trent Rockets in The Hundred while former Australian representative Shelley Nitschke will be in the Apple Isle later this year to lead the Perth Scorchers in the WBBL.
The state government announced a women's coaching scholarship which will provide the opportunity for at least five female coaches to complete the Football Australia 'C' licence course. Football Tasmania officials will add ongoing support after the course concludes.
It's a great idea but it needs to be supported by an uptake of clubs willing to commit to investing, more importantly employing, female coaches.
At a local level, it is heartening to see Mikayla Binns lead Launceston to the NTFAW premiership this season in great style while Abbey Green's signing at Old Launcestonians for next season is exciting.
Green's announcement is exactly what you would start to expect now the AFLW is well-entrenched in the sporting landscape. A talented player with experience with Collingwood and North Melbourne would have plenty of tips and tricks to take OLs' younger brigade to a higher level.
The real question is now we have these players available, why are we not seeing more of it?
"You've got more people involved, different genders involved at the same time, there's a different perspective and a different lens and that only can benefit your organisation," recent AFL Hall of Fame inductee Debbie Lee told AAP.
"We've seen the outcomes the clubs that have had a women's team (gain) from an organisation point of view, an environment point of view and a revenue point of view - how that's been of benefit."
Talking is easy, especially when we talk about broadstroke concepts like equality and representation without the pressing need to engage any strategy to get there. It simply isn't enough to talk about the need for equality in women's sport.
What is far harder, is to commit to doing so we need to do better, aspire to be better and ensure there's tangible ways to get there.
After all, you cannot be something you rarely see.
Do you know someone who is contributing to Northern Tasmanian sport, whether through participating or assisting?
The Examiner's Junior Sports Awards, sponsored by Woolworths, provide acknowledgement of accomplishments by players, coaches, volunteers, teams and clubs across the region.
Nominations are open from Wednesday, April 14, and will close at midnight on October 4.
Entries must include a photograph of the entrant.
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