Edwards and Evans leading the way for women and girls

Diversity and inclusiveness are football’s biggest strengths and something we can all celebrate this International Women’s Day.

Women and girls represent 27% of players in Northern NSW and we aspire to increase this to gender parity by 2027. And It’s not just on the pitch where women are having an impact. New Northern NSW Football board members Lauren Edwards and Lisa Evans are using their roles to inspire other women to enter leadership positions.

Lisa Evans is an accountant who brings her vast financial management skills to the NNSWF board. Evans’ financial expertise and professionalism will guide key decisions to expand the NNSWF’s capabilities and develop the game within the community. 

“It is a privilege to sit in a senior leadership position within the football community. There has never been a better time for women and girls to thrive in our game.

We have a home women’s World Cup starting in July, huge investments in leaving a lasting legacy and broad community support to succeed. I’m excited to play a role in bettering the game for the next generation of female participants,” Evans said. 

Lauren Edwards, a lawyer based in Lismore, NSW brings not only her professional expertise but her lived experiences within the football community as a player and coach to her son’s MiniRoos team. 

“I’m thrilled to be bringing the skills from my day job to the board of Northern NSW Football. I hope to have an impact in decision-making and authentically represent the inclusiveness and diversity within football,” said Edwards.

You can’t be what you can’t see 

Significant numbers of women in leadership positions encourage and sustain other women. According to the International Women’s Development Agency, 2.7 billion women around the world are legally restricted from holding the same job choices as men.

Evans says, “low visibility of women in male-dominated sports, whether that be on the field or behind the scenes, can further hinder women from feeling welcome and in turn, not participating. It’s an ongoing cycle that we are committed to changing."

Strengthening and continuing to build the community of football 

Both Edwards’ and Evans’ earliest football memory is being moved by the camaraderie of teammates and watching family members’ unwavering love for football.

“I love the community aspect of football. It's not even necessarily the sport itself, but the community and the family it creates, particularly in regional areas - my love extends beyond the game. You’re in the company of like-minded people, people share the same type of love that you do so it really does become a form of reprieve,” says Edwards.

Evans echoes that sentiment, “I’d say I love the community of football more than I love the sport itself. My family are all football fanatics so I’ve been able to watch just how rewarding the game can be from the sidelines. That’s what’s inspired me to take part in it,” says Evans.

Both women share their motivation as leaders of the football community, founded in the knowledge that they’re serving the people who share the same passions as they do. “I love football and I love the community. I’ve been lucky to be able to combine both my passion in my personal life and my professional life.”

“I’m excited to serve as one of the female representatives of the NNSW Football Board. I hope to encourage more female participation in football, at the grassroots level” concluded Edwards.

Find out more about the strategy supporting female football.

This web story is supported by the NSW Government under the NSW Football Legacy Program.