• Host Shannon Byrne was joined by Canberra United's Allira Toby, Adelaide United's Shadeene Evans and JMF co-founder John Moriarty in Thursday's IFW discussion. (John Moriarty Football)Source: John Moriarty Football
Broadcasting and exposure of women's football was the focal point of today's panel discussion as part of Indigenous football week, with two current players giving valuable insights into what can be done to further the game ahead of the landmark 2023 Women's World Cup in Australia.
Finn Potter

25 Nov 2021 - 4:05 PM  UPDATED 26 Nov 2021 - 8:47 AM

Host Shannon Byrne was joined by Australia's first Indigenous footballer John Moriarty, as well as two current Indigenous A-League women players in Canberra United's Allira Toby and Adelaide United's Shadeene Evans, the latter an inaugural scholarship holder of the John Moriarty Foundation.

As the events of the week continue to shine a spotlight on gender equality, the panel identified the recent branding switch of the W-League to A-League women as a major step forward to making this happen, which Moriarty praised.

“It's a great move forward and elevates the ladies from the bottom rung where they’ve been for years," Moriarty said of the league's new name.

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"It's given football in Australia a great model for our kids and the general public."

However, it was clear there is still a multitude of issues facing players at the professional level.

One of those issues is the pay inequity that means women in the same position as men are having to find other ways to support themselves despite the heavy workload that comes with being an elite footballer.

"The pay should be made so that women don't need to have another job outside football," Toby said.

"It's physically and mentally demanding to have to go work another job and it's hard to find one that's flexible enough. 

"If that can be addressed then that’s a step in the right direction for our women."

Toby and Evans also agreed that the current broadcasting of the women's game needs significant elevation after a serious lack of airtime was provided to the W-League in the previous season.

"The broadcasting last season was horrendous, and this year it should be better," Toby said.

"The exposure is what we need leading into the World Cup."

"For the growth of women, the broadcasting and exposure should be better," Evans echoed.

"That's how we can take the next step with women’s football."

With these issues in mind, the panel acknowledged that welcoming such a huge event like the Women's World Cup to Australian shores in 2023 had the potential to create a plethora of new opportunities for female footballers both present and future, if done right by all involved.

“It will be phenomenal," Moriarty said of the tournament.

"If it gets the coverage it should have it’ll be amazing for youngsters coming up in the game."

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“It's amazing having the World Cup here," Evans added.

"It's a good start and a stepping stone for female athletes. To show off an international event in Australia will inspire younger females and us local indigenous girls and their communities.

"They’ll look at it and want to be there one day."

Watch the full discussion below, before the series of broadcasts concludes tomorrow as more influential figures in women's football address cross-cultural perspectives of gender equality in football from 2pm (AEDT) on the John Moriarty Football and SBS Sport Facebook pages.