International Women's Day: Changes in footy are ‘phenomenal’ as females finally get a go

THE FUTURE IS FEMALE: Wangaratta Rovers co-coach Celia Piesse speaking yesterday.
THE FUTURE IS FEMALE: Wangaratta Rovers co-coach Celia Piesse speaking yesterday.

When Celia Piesse was a child, all she wanted to do was play footy, but there was always a stigma about girls doing such a thing.

Even as an adult coaching women’s football in Melbourne, she would see some girls being told they could not play the game, and other parents who did let their children train would stay in the car to avoid being seen.

Now in 2018, Piesse is the co-coach of Wangaratta Rovers’ first women’s football team.

She received a big round at applause at yesterday’s International Women’s Day breakfast in Wangaratta for her role in that big accomplishment for females in the city.

“This is a massive step for a town like Wangaratta where gender stereotypes are huge and traditional roles have been maintained for a long time,” she said.

“The gender and culture shift that’s already happening at the club is phenomenal … They can genuinely see that the future of the club now rests with opening the doors to everyone.”

As a mother of two girls and one boy, Piesse has advocated that children of all genders should have the same rights to play sport and has seen an improvement in attitudes over the years.

About 100 women attended yesterday’s breakfast, an event hosted annually by Women’s Health Goulburn North East to promote equity for women in the community.

Board chair Sarah Noble said after so many years working towards gender equity, it was pleasing to see a shift as people started to take notice.

“Today’s stories about women are empowering and inspiring, and that is why we must listen to them - women’s stories have for too long been ignored,” she said.