Roy Morgan Research
March 22, 2019

AFLW inspires more women to play Australian Football

Topic: Press Release
Finding No: 7916

Over 550,000 Australian women now play one of the four main football codes. The success of the AFLW in encouraging women and girls to play Australian Football is evident by the growth in female participation in Australian Football over the last year up by 21,000 to 176,000 women.

However, despite the growth for Australian Football, the home-grown code remains well behind Soccer. Nearly 400,000 women play Soccer making the round ball code the leading football code for Australian women aged 14+ according to the latest Roy Morgan research conducted in the 12 months to December 2018.

Both Soccer and Australian Football are well ahead of the two rugby codes with 67,000 Australian women now playing Rugby League and 32,000 Australian women now playing Rugby Union.

As Australia’s largest State it is not surprising that New South Wales is the home of female football players in Australia – with 207,000 women playing football of one sort or another in New South Wales followed by Victoria with 139,000 and Queensland with 89,000.

New South Wales is the home of Women’s Soccer in Australia with over 170,000 women playing the sport while Victoria has more women playing Australian Football (77,000) than any other State and Queensland has more women playing Rugby League (35,000) than any other State.

Women’s participation in football codes 2017 cf. 2018

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January – December 2017 Australian Women aged 14+, n=8,737 and January – December 2018, Australian Women aged 14+, n=8,442.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, says the first ever AFL Women’s finals series being contested at the moment is an important milestone for Women’s Football with four new teams joining AFLW next year and increasing numbers of women and girls playing footy:

Block Quote

“Over 550,000 Australian women are now playing football of one sort or another whether Australian Football, Soccer, Rugby League or Rugby Union. Although this number has increased by only 6,000 from a year ago the growth has been driven by an increasing number of women and girls playing Australian Football, up by 21,000 to 176,000.

As we showed a year ago it is the increasing participation of women and girls in the football codes that is supporting overall levels of participation in football as male participation has declined in recent years. However, despite these declines men still comprise over 70% of the over 1.9 million Australians that play a football code either regularly or occasionally.

“The success of the AFLW in engaging the interest of the community has been highlighted this week with the widespread support expressed for Carlton’s Tayla Harris after an iconic image of the AFLW player was targeted by online trolls. The swift response by media commentators and other social media users to condemn the harassment of Harris shows the growing influence and importance placed on Women’s sport as coverage and interest continues to increase.

“However, despite the impressive growth of the AFLW from a standing start just over two years ago, it is Soccer that is by far the leading football code for women in Australia now played by just under 400,000 women and girls in 2018.

“The Australian Women’s National Football Team, nicknamed the Matildas, has emerged in recent years as one of Australia’s favourite national sporting teams with striker Samantha Kerr scoring plenty of goals on the pitch and also inspiring women and girls to take up the sport.

“The Matildas and are now ranked inside the world’s top six heading towards the 2019 Women’s Football World Cup being held in France in June and July and recently won the 2019 Cup of Nations beating highly ranked opponents South Korea, New Zealand and Argentina.

“The increasing interest in women’s sport of all types including the football codes provides an increasingly lucrative platform for companies looking to capture a share of this emerging market while it goes through a significant growth phase.

“To gain a deeper understanding of how Australians are taking to Women’s sport and where these crucial consumers are spending their money get in contact with Roy Morgan to access the qualitative and quantitative Roy Morgan Single Source survey conducted by personally interviewing over 50,000 Australians each year face-to-face in their own homes.”

For comments or more information please contact:
Roy Morgan - Enquiries
Office: +61 (03) 9224 5309

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

Related Findings

Back to topBack To Top Arrow