Man Hating …… Cow



I was looking at the social media for the Umpire AFL’s account after Novak Djokovic achieved an unbelievable eighth Australian Open title and noticed a picture of the AFLW umpires for this season.


It’s a rotten photo but I counted five, maybe six, females out of 27 or so talented umpires.  Someone had made the comment about why there aren’t more females in the AFL competition – I took that to mean AFLM!  But I commented as follows:


“Not a lot of women in that picture.  I counted about five.  We should be aiming for 50:50.”


Various comments followed.  All from blokes.  I explained entrenched discrimination and why so much more needed to be done.  One man suggested that women weren’t good umpires and then got stuck into me, including calling me a “man-hating lesbian cow”.


I suggested to the page owner that s/he may wish to moderate the comments.  Unfortunately, that led to my post about entrenched discrimination also being deleted together with the personal abuse directed at me.


A couple of other comments are salient:

  • (women) need to earn their spot. Takes more than just gender to umpire at that level.
  • So u (sic) want them to go up to the guys and say “hey you know how you worked really hard to get here? Yeah well now you can’t be here cause you’re not female”  … besides they can’t control how many females actually try to be umpires can they?


The moderator of the page posted that “discrimination of any type is not accepted on this page”.  Unfortunately, the discrimination is entrenched and I think they meant abuse!


Women in this space have quite a long way to go if these comments are anything to go by.  I took a look at the AFL website on Monday evening – a few days before the AFLW 2020 competition begins – to see that of the seven lead stories, only one was about AFLW.  I looked at the latest AFL annual report available which was for 2018.  It showed a profit of over $50 million.


I’m apparently just a man-hating lesbian cow, but even I can see that some money could be put into boosting the number of women involved at every level of this great game.  We’ve got over the concept that women are there just to cut the oranges and wash the jumpers – as important as those roles are.  But it is time now to step up the action and wind back the rhetoric.


There is no reason that specialised umpire courses for women to bring them up to speed can’t be funded by the AFL out of that massive profit.  Ditto coaching courses.  Ditto sports management courses.  Should I go on?


For those who say “oh, but it’s changing”; yes it is.  But I didn’t expect it to take this long.  I thought some affirmative action would kick in so that the best could be selected to umpire, to coach and to manage which would be an inclusive arrangement.


This would include the other 50% of the population on a fair and equitable basis.  Not on a piecemeal arrangement.


Samantha Lane asked an interesting question in her book, Roar, on the inaugural AFLW competition:  did the AFL simply create a women’s competition for women to play in and men to manage?


I wonder this too.



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About Anne Cahill Lambert

One of the first females to be admitted to membership of the G. Thank you Mr Cain. Nicknamed The Hyphen by Alamanac Editor, despite the fact I don't have one.


  1. There is still a very long way to go, Anne. We are talking about changing attitudes that have been entrenched for centuries.

    I too have been surprised and disappointed by the AFL’s muted promotion of the impending AFLW season. I cannot fathom why more effort has not been put into it.

    “The discrimination is entrenched, and I think they meant abuse…”
    So true, Anne. Thanks for this.

  2. Anne Cahill Lambert says

    Thanks, Smokie.
    One of my friends expressed her disappointment about all of this today. I told her I was celebrating as usually when I call out discrimination, I’m also referred to as being old and fat. These two adjectives were left out of the descriptor the other day!
    Thank you again.

  3. John Butler says

    Anne, the cheap abuse of the usual online gutless wonders isn’t really worth expending any energy, as unpleasant and unnecessary as it is.

    But that last Sam Lane question is still very pertinent, however. The very best that could be said of the AFL at present is that it is hastening slowly on the matter. But that is to assume there is any haste at all.

    I think it’s important we all keep speaking up on the matter like you do, just to remind them that many are paying attention.


  4. Frank Taylor says

    A short, good, intelligent, relevant and important piece Anne.
    As a bloke who had the greatest mother, married the best wife and has 3 daughters and one granddaughter (and one grandson) I am totally with you here.
    Modern Australian society is deeply and culturally sexist.
    Sure, it is not as bad as when I was born – the 50,s – however we still have a massive way to go. I could reel off numerous , personal examples. And sure, there has been many advances in lowering the glass ceiling. And yes, some of them are just effectively tokenism.
    The AFL should be leading here, I agree. I mean, REALLY leading. Unfortunately, since Gillon’s tenure, I have been seriously disappointed. Terribly similar to the Liberal Party’s resistance to equal representation.
    The AFL is looking more and more like the corporate world, that is, a boy’s club.
    Gillon, it’s time to step up.
    Affirmative action is the only way. It stands up in practice. Anything else is just men diverting debate and ducking behind the usual company line…..
    I also echo Smokie’s comments re the trolls. These male persons (they are not real men) would just fold face-to-face. Not worth the emotional cost.
    Thanks again for your piece – keep it up, there are good people out there and we need to keep talking about it, for our daughters and society’s sake,

  5. Anne Cahill Lambert says

    Thanks Frank. I too am your age group and have personal examples as well as professional examples that would make you laugh or weep; especially as a CEO or board chair when the expectation was that these positions would be occupied by men! Back in the day I may have been offended by these things, but no more: it’s easy enough for me to use the abuse to try and improve women’s lot! I’m heartened by your comments and most grateful to you. Regards, Anne.

  6. Judith Dwyer says

    Do more like this Anne. Love your work. So pleased you don’t let the bastards going you down

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