Framing the women’s AFL: contested spaces and emerging narratives of hope and opportunity for women in sport
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© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This article explores historical, contemporary and emerging sites of contestation within sports, with a particular focus on women’s Australian Rules football in Australia. Sport played out on the field, in the media, popular culture, governance and legal arenas are positioned in this article as contested public spaces. The increasing presence of women in these spaces is seen as a shift towards a more socially just sporting space. With an emphasis on the contemporary sporting landscape and the historical commencement of the national women’s Australian Football League Women (AFLW) competition in February 2017, the evolution of this sport as a contested space can be understood as it relates to narratives of hope and opportunity for women. With overwhelming public feeling that the first AFLW season was a success, it is time to pause and consider what this development means for elite women’s sport, and women in contemporary Australian society more broadly.
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