The NRL released some insightful statistics on how Rugby League continues to expand the role of women in our game.
41% of the games NRL club financial members are female, increasing to 88,150 in 2013 (82,250 in 2012).
45% of Rugby League fans are women, with the following NRL Clubs having more female fans than male fans Panthers, Eels, Knights, Cowboys and Titans.
Female registrations in regular competitions are on the increase. 2013 figures are still being calculated but early indications are that they will be up on 2012 registrations of 5,801 (a 20.5 per cent increase on 2011 4,814).
The number of female coaches is set to continue to rise significantly with a 53 per cent increase in numbers already in 2013. 263 have registered so far (172 in 2012).
Already in 2013, 420 women have participated in courses for accreditation in coaching, refereeing and first aid.
Throughout 1,300 grassroots clubs, more than 2,500 women hold volunteer administration positions in 2013.
On Tuesday evening the Pirtek Parramatta Eels hosted a dinner in Mudgee, where we honoured the contribution that 20 women from the town and surrounding areas had made to the game and their communities.
We met some very special ladies like Trish Gossage who has been strapping players for both the Mudgee Junior and Senior clubs for over 20 years. Mary Reddish juggles being the secretary for the mighty Gulgong Terriers Rugby League club with being the Vice-President & Registrar for the Group 14 competition.
These stories are not restricted to the bush, women across the Rugby League family and indeed the Eels family are working hard so those who strap on the boots are given every opportunity to enjoy playing the game they love.
Last weekend we celebrated the mothers of our players who raised the Blue and Gold Army flag and then formed a guard of honour for their sons. This weekend our players will honour women in rugby league by wearing pink ties to the game against the Dragons in Wollongong.
Later this year against the Tigers in Round 22 we will wear our own pink Women in League jersey and will use the opportunity to celebrate the contribution of women within the Eels Family in front of the Blue and Gold Army.
This weekend we take on the Dragons in Wollongong, so I hope to see a strong contingent of the Blue and Gold Army in full cry. Cheer loudly, cheer proudly and #GOPARRA!
CEO Pirtek Parramatta Eels