Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By BELINDA CIPRI­ANO

AFL na­tional fe­male foot­ball de­vel­op­ment man­ager Jan Cooper was one of 15 women in­ducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame as part of International Women’s Day (IWD) cel­e­bra­tions last Wed­nes­day.

The event, held at the State Re­cep­tion Cen­tre at Fraser’s, recog­nised women across a range of sec­tors, cel­e­brat­ing their di­verse achieve­ments.

The Floreat res­i­dent, who has cham­pi­oned women in foot­ball for more than a decade, was in­stru­men­tal in de­vel­op­ing fe­male foot­ball from a few small leagues across the coun­try to launch­ing the na­tional AFL Women’s com­pe­ti­tion.

Mrs Cooper said while she was hon­oured to be in­ducted, she be­lieved she had just been do­ing her job.

“When I viewed the list of pre­vi­ous in­ductees, I was ex­tremely hum­bled and some­what em­bar­rassed,” she said.

“I be­lieve I’ve been do­ing my job, whereas many of the in­ductees have been com­mu­nity chang­ing vol­un­teers.

“I guess my in­duc­tion speaks more about my de­ter­mi­na­tion to per­sist with what I be­lieved was the right thing to do.”

Do­ing the “right thing” for the mother-of-two has in­cluded work­ing her way through the WAFL at Swan Dis­tricts Foot­ball Club, pro­mot­ing the sport to women with the WA Foot­ball Com­mis­sion, work­ing with the WA Women’s Foot­ball League and be­ing of­fered her cur­rent role at the AFLW.

“The sup­port for AFLW has been ex­cep­tional, but not sur­pris­ing,” she said.

“The com­mu­nity was ready for AFLW.

“One dis­ap­point­ment is that the best fe­male tal­ent in ad­min­is­tra­tion roles have been snapped up, but their re­place­ments in state or­gan­i­sa­tions have re­verted to males.

“We didn’t see that be­ing the case and I’m sure over the com­ing years this will re­vert to a bet­ter balance as fe­males in­crease their skills and the in­dus­try moves to a more in­clu­sive model.

“At AFL clubs, the peo­ple charged with man­ag­ing the AFLW foot­ball op­er­a­tions are mainly men, which is also dis­ap­point­ing given the plethora of tal­ented women work­ing in the in­dus­try.

“I am de­ter­mined to en­cour­age the AFL to change their prac­tices around who the de­ci­sion-mak­ers and in­flu­encers are within the in­dus­try at all lev­els.

“They have to get se­ri­ous about board and se­nior man­age­ment com­po­si­tion and mov­ing to par­ity in salaries and eq­uity in op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­clude both gen­ders and all cul­tural back­grounds.

“I hope my legacy will be that any role at any level of AFL is open to ev­ery­one.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d449757

Jan Cooper said she felt “hum­bled” to be in­ducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame.

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