Netball Victoria has also commissioned Schattner for a sculpture of Anne Henderson for the State Netball Centre in Parkville. Statues of the nation’s first federal female politicians, Dame Enid Lyons and Dame Dorothy Tangney by sculptor Lis Johnson, were also revealed in Canberra on Wednesday.
Former AFL commissioner Sam Mostyn, now chair of the of Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce, said the legacies of current women sporting stars across so many sports, including Australian women cricketers, the Matildas, tennis, swimming, and AFLW players, as well as those who paved the way for women’s football, should be on public display.
“Debbie Lee would be a great example, she made history as the first woman player to be inducted into the Australian rules football Hall of Fame. She has played more representative football for the state than any single person, let alone just women, and was one of the extraordinary pioneers of the women’s game,” Mostyn said.
“We’ve got to come to a point where this isn’t a debate – where it is simply the right thing to do, get on with it and rectify a historical anomaly which has failed to recognise our great women athletes.”
She said cricketers Rachael Haynes and Meg Lanning, Sam Kerr and tennis star Ash Barty, among others should all be in consideration for potential statues. “They’re certainly all in contention if we’re having living athletes immortalised in this way,” she said.
Mostyn pointed to a statue of pioneering Australian cricket captain Belinda Clark unveiled at the SCG in January as an example of recognising the many overlooked women athletes of the past.
A spokesperson for the AFL said the organisation was looking for way to recognise the contribution of women to the sport.
“We have seen that with Michael Wilson’s iconic photo of Tayla Harris which was immortalised in bronze,” they said. “As the history of and legacy of AFLW and female football grows, the AFL will continue to work with the stakeholders on appropriately recognising the contribution of women across the game.”
Netball Victoria president Carol Cathcart said the organisation had launched a campaign advocating for greater recognition of female sporting icons in the community several years ago, leading to the statue of McMahon.
“Public spaces should represent diversity and values, and public statues are built to inspire, celebrate success and tell important stories of our community,” Cathcart said.
“It’s crucial that we ensure women are equally represented and portrayed in our history.”
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