Surge in Female Sports Participation Inspired by ‘Matildas Effect’


Summary: The success of the Australian women’s soccer team at the World Cup has sparked a surge in female sports participation across various sports, with soccer and Australian rules football seeing significant increases. Despite the enthusiasm, female athletes continue to face a gender pay gap.

Indi, an eight-year-old soccer player, is among the growing number of females participating in traditionally male-dominated sports. In her local competition alone, the number of girls has doubled from the previous year. This surge in female sports participation is being attributed to the ‘Matildas effect,’ inspired by the success of the Australian women’s soccer team at the World Cup. The tournament sold out stadiums, garnered record ratings, and turned relatively unknown players into household names.

Australia now boasts seven professional women’s sports leagues, and 35% of all women and girls in the country play sport, according to the Australian Sports Commission. Australian rules football has also seen a significant increase in female participation, with girls accounting for 38% of all registered players in the Northern Territory. Despite the progress, female athletes still face a gender pay gap. The Matildas, for instance, earned $2.18 million for their 4th place finish at the World Cup, while the men’s team received $13 million despite failing to advance past the round of 16. Nonetheless, coaches and players remain optimistic about the future of women’s sports and the opportunities they present.

Tags: Matildas effect, female sports participation, women’s soccer, Australian rules football, gender pay gap