Women & Girls in Umpiring

Female umpires at the first EmpowHER umpires session after a skills session with AFL umpire Eleni Tee.

Female involvement in umpiring  is a priority across South Australia, with additional opportunities providing a great platform to promote the recruitment, and retention, of female umpires across the state.


Pleasingly SANFL now has over 190 registered female umpires across the state around 10% of all umpires and hope to further grow this number towards 20% in coming years. Around 90 of these umpires are registered with the SANFL Juniors competition and we have also seen greater involvement in umpiring by females in regional areas with Great Flinders, Port Lincoln, Riverland & Yorke Peninsula Football Leagues all having female umpires involved in umpiring senior men’s A-grade football, some of which has been a first for their Leagues.




SANFL recently launched the EmpowHER female umpiring program. Its objective is to connect umpires from around the state to build skills, share experiences and provide education opportunities whilst creating lasting bonds amongst the group.

The EmpowHER program is designed for female umpires to gather several times across the season in different training and social activities, acting as a step towards the AFL’s National Women’s Mentorship Program.


The first EmpowHER night was held at Pulteney Oval on June 5, with 42 female umpires attending to participate in a basic skills session run by female AFL Field Umpire Eleni Tee, with the support of the SANFL umpiring department.

The participants then attended a dinner which allowed for opportunity to create greater social connections and hear about the experiences of Eleni and experienced female SANFL League umpires Emile Hill (Goal) and Taylah Parker (Boundary).


The second EmpowHER Umpires Session was held on Wednesday August 2nd, where young female umpires had the unique experience of watching the Adelaide Crows AFLW team play an internal trial, tour the Club facilities and listen to Chelsea Randall, Adelaide AFLW Captain, speak .


Our third and final SA EmpowHER Umpires Session for the year was held at the Port Adelaide vs Gold Coast Suns AFLW Match. The session involved drinks and nibbles in The Precinct where the girls chatted and connected and then had the running AFLW Umpires visit, chat to the girls as a group and then chat in each discipline. The AFLW umps were fantastic and lots of the girls commented on how much they gained from chatting with them briefly. We then watched the game together – which ended in a thrilling draw and the girls commented on the pressure on the umpires and how they held their composure, etc.


All female umpires in SA that are registered on Officials HQ will receive an invitation to future events and are encouraged to attend.


The EmpowHER female umpires with Adelaide Crows AFLW captain Chelsea Randall

Providing Opportunities 


In addition to the launch of EmpowHER, in line with the AFL’s Women and Girls Game Development Action Plan, SANFL has been working to provide equal opportunities for women and girls to be involved in umpiring. Some of the actions this has lead to include: Appointment of more female coaches and liaisons in community leagues, mentoring and game day appointments that have females involved purely in female footy if they wish, player to umpire flexibility and inclusive umpiring group education.


SANFL will continue to provide opportunities for females to begin their umpiring career and encourage anyone interested in umpiring to reach out at the following link to learn more: https://www.play.afl/umpire/become-an-umpire/

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