Why 2014 really was the year of Australian women in sport.

It was a big year for women’s sport in Australia in 2014.

And while many are angry over the government’s budget cuts culling the broadcasting of women’s sport on the ABC, there is also a lot to be happy about. Australian women are competing – and winning – at the very highest levels of their sport and starting to get a smidgen of the recognition that they deserve.

Here are the five moments we hope to see more of in women’s sport this year.

1. Seeing women take out championship titles on the world stage.

Last year we saw Stephanie Gilmore win her sixth surfing world title after she beat a group of fellow Australians in Hawaii. It was a dramatic finish, with three Australians making it in to the top four of the competition. Stephanie, from Tweed Heads is now just one championship away from joining Australian surfer, Layne Beachley as the top female surfer in history. We want to see more women on the podium for world titles this year.

2. Giving more coverage to women’s sport (especially on TV).

While a lot of women’s sport got culled from the ABC’s broadcasting network (by the budget cuts) last year  – one team got a new television contract, which was a big win for women in sport across the country.

Fox Sports and Network Ten both announced that they’ll be broadcasting the Netball World Cup in Sydney this year. Having all the games available on free-to-air television is what we want to see a lot more of in the coming year.

The return of women’s sport to free-to-air television is so important and so vital for young girls – so they can watch sporting role models and can aspire to be like them and can look up to them.

3. More women in the commentary box.

We saw cricketer Meg Lanning fill a female seat in the Channel Nine commentary box last year. It was one of the first times that there’d been a woman sitting alongside the men. Meg, 22 took the reigns with determination and proved that we need more female voices in our television commentary teams. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of Meg (and other sporting women) in the box this year.

4. Women coaching top Australian teams.

Last year we saw the appointment of the first ever female coach in the AFL. In 2014 Peta Searle was named as St Kilda’s new development coach. This made her the first ever woman in Australia to coach a professional AFL team. And while a lot of what was reported in the media touched on her motherhood and family commitments (because she is a single mother of two) that will hopefully become irrelevant. Hopefully this will be the beginning of having more women at executive levels in sport.


5. The growth of all women’s sport.

In 2014 we saw a huge growth in a lot of women’s sport in Australia. We especially saw a big growth among women’s cricket. The women played three Test series and 13 T20 series and a successful World Cup in Bangladesh. Ellyse Perry became (arguably) the best all-rounder in the game – among both men and women.

Channel Nine also showed some of the women’s cricket matches live on TV, which we will hopefully see much more of in the coming year.

Ultimately we hope that this year is a big one for sports women in Australia – and that women’s sport only continues to grow. Because the women deserve it as much as the men.

And in other sporting news…

– W-League star Ashleigh Sykes is in the running to be on the Matildas’ forward line at next year’s World Cup. She was a star player at the W-League grand final and is hoping to break in to the Matilda’s team for the World Cup next year. Australian coach Alen Stajcic only had spots for three players from the Canberra United team in his initial 32-player women’s cup squad – Sykes is now putting the pressure on for a starting place. Good luck to her.

– Hockey stars Anna Flanagan and Rachael Lynch are both contenders in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) World Player of the Year Awards. There are six Australian players in the running for the top awards. Good luck to the girls.

–  Lauren Jackson will play for the Canberra Capitals against the Dandenong Rangers on Sunday. The WNBL superstar has been out for the past twelve months due to injury. But the four-time Olympian made a comeback in a stellar match with the Capitals’ when they beat Adelaide Lightning on December 19, and Canberra fans are hoping she’ll shine again in the game tomorrow. Good luck to all the players.

What sporting moments do you hope we see more of for women in 2015?