Young girls have seen the future

I was twenty-four years old when the first women’s Olympic marathon was run.

Last night, I was a spectator at the women’s World Cup Football bronze medal match in Brisbane, Australia. While it was heartbreaking on one level to see our national team, the Matildas, lose to Sweden, the positives coming out of this tournament will leave their mark for a long time.

Australians love sport. We relish the underdog status. Small, often forgotten nation, with a mighty sporting heart.

I will never forget when we won the America’s Cup, taking it from the Americans for the first time in over 100 years.

The women’s World Cup broke the male-dominated media, sports governing bodies (Including FIFA), and armchair sportsmen’s expectations. Actually, it blew any expectations apart. Our team was fierce. Stadiums packed out. Venues were set up nationwide to enable people to watch the game on a big screen. Imagine that, selling out stadiums where no sport was being played.

Sport, like art and music, has the capacity to change culture. In 1995 in South Africa, the South African Rugby World Cup victory brought together a nation divided by apartheid.

This World Cup has broken the sad misogynistic tale of women’s sports not being popular, not selling tickets, not being of the same calibre as men. 

Other than the Olympics in 2000, this tournament has galvanised a nation and given young girls a promise for a different future than the one I had.

Even better, our National team captain, Sam Kerr, one of the best football players in the world, is a gay woman of colour.

The male-dominated institutions are waking up to more equality around the world. The tide has turned, the cork cannot be put back into the bottle.

There is much to do and a long way to go. But children and young girls have seen the future and will not be deterred.

Thank you, Matildas. 

Photo Taken August 20th 2023