parent opinion

How do we encourage our daughters to play and stay in sport? 9 parents weigh in.

Thanks to our brand partner, CommBank

Every Saturday, our 9-year-old daughter joins hundreds of other girls in our area to play netball, as she’s done the last three winters. 

On the fields opposite the courts, hundreds of local boys play football (the soccer kind). Our 6-year-old will soon be one of them. 

My husband and I have never explicitly told our son he can’t play netball, or our daughter that she can’t play football. We never told them their bodies are biologically programmed to do only the sports the other boys and girls in their town are doing. 

In fact, we never told them anything. Each child was pulled to their ‘gendered’ sport by the tide of the cultural water we swim in. And to be honest, I never really thought to question it. Until now. 

Along with the rest of Australia, we've been following the CommBank Matildas' journey in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™. From our lounge rooms, we’ve watched these women dominate the most popular sport in the world with ferocity and grace.

Innate talent and relentless determination. Integrity and passion. Without claiming the Cup, they’ve won at something much, much more. 

These women have lived the reality of ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’. And they’ve rewritten that story for our girls. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that every little girl watching the CommBank Matildas are going to be the next Sam Kerr. That’s not the goal of celebrating female representation in sport. The goal is to put an end to the insidious notion that females aren’t as skilled at sports as males, and therefore, simply not as interesting to watch. 


The goal is providing our girls with equal opportunities. To show them that the world doesn’t get to use their gender to define their potential, disregard their dreams and determine their future. Not in the classroom, not in the boardroom and not on the pitch. 

That’s why it’s so cool to see companies like CommBank doing their thing to support football at all levels, from grassroots to the elite. Not only are they partnered with Football Australia too, they’re also super proud supporters of Young Matildas (under 20s), Junior Matildas (under 17s), official partners of the men’s national team, the Subway Socceroos, the MiniRoos program and passionate supporters of the CommBank Pararoos and ParaMatildas. 

If you watched the likes of Kerr, Fowler, Carpenter and Gorry walk out to their first game against Ireland, you might have caught some little legends running out on the field and wondered what the go was. Allow me to give you the backstory. 

CommBank surprised a little local club in Carlington, NSW – the Roselea FC club – with the news that they'd be the CommBank Mini Mates who would be walking out onto the pitch at the Tillies' very first home game. If you missed it, do yourself a favour and check it out. 


It’s these kinds of initiatives, support and opportunities that will live on long after the last kick of the Cup. It’s this stuff that will have our girls oblivious to the fact glass ceilings ever existed. 

But before we know it, the fanfare we're seeing right now will simmer down. Which is exactly why Mamamia reached out to some passionate parents of seasoned Sporty Spices to find out some of their best tips and tricks to keep this magical momentum going, and our girls excited about sport.

As always, conversation is key. 

"We always do a post-game recap in the car on the way home. I keep the questions light and let her lead the way. I ask open-ended questions like, 'Who impressed you on the field today?' and 'Tell me about a moment in the game that made you proud.'" – Kath


"My girl can get really worked up when she makes a mistake. I just tell her how much I love watching her play. She rolls her eyes, but I know it calms her. My support helps her to not sweat the small stuff so much." – Claire

"I’ve had to teach my daughter how to respond when she has been successful. We had a moment at a state series time trial (which she won) and I had to explicitly teach her how to respond, with the focus being on the fact it’s actually okay to be proud and to say you won." – Dean

If we want female athletes to be household names – say their names in your household. 

"We make it a priority to watch the coverage of women sport in our house. It can be so easy to default to watching mens-only sports when it's all on free-to-air TV. That’s not going to change until we vote with our remotes, and show just as much interest in women's sport.’ – Kelly 

"Highly recommend the Matildas: The World at Our Feet documentary series on Disney+. Cracking series, I reckon it's all good for ages 10 and up. We binged every episode and it gave us that personal connection to the players." – Trina

"Take your daughters to see the sport live whenever you can. Girls and women are smashing it, and nothing brings this home like seeing it live. My girls just light up watching the Australian women’s cricket. Entry for kids under 14 is only 5 bucks too at Sydney oval." – Tess   


Be their cheer squad. 

"Encourage your kids to give different sports a go. It’s not always just going to happen without you making it happen. If they don’t show an interest, suggest something and make it happen." – Helen 

"Get outside and have a kick around with them. People tend to overthink it. You don’t have to be a PE teacher like myself, or athlete to be a sporting role model. You just have to get out there and give it a go. Even if it’s only 10 minutes. Anyone can do that." – Stephanie

CommBank are proudly supporting football across Australia to help continue to grow the game and create more opportunities for all to play.

Feature Image: Instagram/@matildas/Supplied/Mamamia.

Sport is integral to the health and wellbeing of all Australians. That’s why CommBank has partnered with Football Australia’s Pararoos and ParaMatildas teams, as part of their commitment to ensure that Australians from grassroots, to the elite level have the access and support to achieve their dream. CommBank is also a proud supporter of Cricket Australia’s ‘A Sport For All’ program, which champions inclusivity and diversity in cricket through indigenous, multicultural, people with a disability and LGBTQIA+ community initiatives. CommBank, supporting you for a brighter future.