With International Women’s Day tomorrow, The Women’s Game thought it would be great to take a moment with players from each of the eight AFLW clubs to see what it means to them.
Fremantle Docker captain Kara Donnellan was one of two marquees announced by Fremantle ahead of the inaugural AFLW season.
What does International Women's Day mean to you?
It is a day to sit back and really admire all the women in the world for what they have achieved and to really celebrate it in all the different aspects of life. It is a day to sit back and listen as well to the women out there who are really empowering those people around them.
Pathway into AFL, did you play as a kid?
I played juniors which is the boys from about the age of eight or nine play junior footy and then went through the whole pathway and ended up doing a bit of umpiring because there was no clear pathway for girls of my age back then. I have gone through the whole pathway now from junior, girls youth footy now to the AFL.
How has the AFL opened up pathways for your future after AFLW?
There is definitely a number of opportunities I hope to jump on after my footy career is done and dusted. I would love to get into the coaching space or even the player welfare mentoring space in a football club. I think there are a lot of different opportunities that I will be able to think about once my football career is over. I suppose at the moment I'm worrying about getting on the field and getting a few kicks.
Being a role model for younger girls and boys
It really sunk in the past couple years being at the highest level and that's what keeps you going. Especially when we didn't have the greatest of years winning games but seeing young fans still rock up week in and week out and want to have a photo and want to have a chat and want your autograph! Especially those young boys and girls who have smiles on their faces, I think it really hits home.
It cements what we're doing and it's not just about playing footy and getting the four points. At the end of the day, it is about inspiring and empowering those young girls and boys to follow their dreams and make sure they know that they can do anything they want to.
Fulltime pay as an athlete and the future opportunities to have this in place for the next generation of players
It would be nice to only have to focus on one job. It is quite hard at times managing a fulltime job and trying to be a parttime/fulltime athlete, especially during the season. So it would be lovely and it would be nice too but whether I do or not is obviously still the unknown.
I think in five to 10 years that young girls will get that opportunity and we are just paving the way for them to hopefully one day to play footy fulltime just like the men do.
Was there a player who inspired you or you admired?
It is really hard because back when I was growing up obviously, I loved football but I didn't know of any females playing the sport so I grew up really admiring Nathan Buckley, Shane Crawford, Glen Jakovich, those kinds of players. The really hard nut, just go about their business on and off the field.
I suppose when you think of female athletes back then it was you, Cathy Freeman and Layne Beachley that I'd watch on TV. I really admired their courage to try make a name for themselves in a male dominated world.
Do you hope one day the men's and women's game are viewed the same way?
I really hope so. That is the ultimate goal, creating a world where it is equal for men and women. I think we are a long way off that even in the workplace. I hope I'm alive to see that happen.
I think we are going in the right direction and with the support of the AFL behind it, I think anything can happen. Hopefully one day that does happen for the generation under me.