As women football fans rejoiced in hearing the news that football overtook netball as the highest participated sport for Australian girls aged 6-13 years, and the news the Matilda’s are finalist for the Daily Life Women of the Year has become another reason to celebrate women’s football in Australia.

The Daily Life Women of the Year award recognised and celebrated "women who have taken a bold public stand on issues that matter most to Australian women”.

There is no denying sport matters a great deal to Australians and increasingly to Australian women.

After a successful World Cup campaign football fans discovered the inequities present in the wages between Australia’s men’s and women’s national teams.

The Matildas' are the most successful team, with Asian Cup gold and silver medals, reaching the quarter finals in the last three World Cups and becoming the first team to win a knock-out match at a World Cup.

Yet, despite the success, they struggled not just for equity as professional athletes.

Although a deal has been agreed to, it is not yet official. Football Federation Australia Chief Executive, David Gallop confirmed he is offering minimum wage to Matilda’s players on a two-tier basis.

The Matildas have been recognised for not just trying to achieve minimum wage, but fighting to provide opportunities for younger players and keep them in the game longer.

They are allowing not only for a growth in women’s football but continued participation within the sport as they can be guaranteed a liveable income representing our country.

[MORE: Girls football participation hits all time high]

Although the award is meant to highlight the achievement of the Matildas' fighting for better wages, it also shows that women can succeed in sport.

There is a social stigma surrounding women in sport, which has seen only half as many 16-24 year olds take part in sport as men of the same age, studies by the Women’s Sports and Fitness Association have found many of these girls experience peer pressure to be socially accepted and increased body consciousness.

The players are showing to a new generation of girls a different definition of beauty, strength and health; one that is defined by achievement.

It is a message that young girls all around Australia are embracing.

However, this award alone cannot contribute to the popularity of women’s football in Australia and the growth of the sport.

The results witnessed at the recent World Cup in Canada has encouraged girls to stay in the sport, while results at previous World Cups and Asian Cups has seen a general increase of participation.

The increased coverage across different media platforms, including free-to-air and paid television, has allowed girls playing football the chance to watch the best players in Australia, and possibly in the world at their fingertips. Not only do they get to watch on television but also have teams come and play at a stadium close to them.

Whilst hometown fans may have to travel further to watch their favourite team, it is a chance of a lifetime for young players in outlying areas to watch their role models play and to meet and greet them, in the hope of one day walk in their footsteps. .

2015 was a big year for the Matildas on the pitch and arguably just as big off the pitch.