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ABC News
ABC News

AFL ditches white shorts for female players to combat ‘period stigma’

The AFL has removed white shorts from on-field uniforms in the AFLW and other female competitions, with the move hoped to eliminate performance anxiety faced by players during their menstrual cycles.

The league's decision follows consultation with AFLW clubs and female players.

Research conducted by the AFL shows players — particularly younger girls — are less likely to participate in sport if they feel uncomfortable in their uniform.

The AFL will work with AFLW clubs to make the adjustments in time for the 2023 season.

Similar measures that have been rolled out in tennis (Wimbledon), cricket (Test matches) and soccer across the world.

"The ripple effect for community sport for women and girls is immense — we want to lead to remove any barriers that prevent women and girls participating in Australian football," AFLW's general manager of women's football, Nicole Livingstone, said in a statement.

All 18 AFLW clubs will continue to have coloured shorts for home matches and can wear these in any match throughout the season.

However, clubs will also have another coloured set of shorts to be worn if there is a clash in uniforms.

"Prioritising our players' health and well-being and supporting everyone to play Australian rules football is critical in everything we do at the AFL," the league's head of mental health and wellbeing, Kate Hall, said.

"This policy is to ensure women and girls can confidently play and enjoy Australian rules football, free from the impact of period stigma."


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