On Wednesday in Melbourne’s Federation Square, a bronzed statue of AFL player Tayla Harris, mid-kick in that famous stance, was unveiled. The statue was commissioned by NAB, the major sponsor of AFLW, Australia’s national Australian rules football league for female players.
The statue has Tayla in her iconic ‘kick like a girl’ position as captured by photographer Michael Willson. The photo won Willson a photography award earlier this year.
Here’s a pic of me at work… think about this before your derogatory comments, animals. pic.twitter.com/68aBVVbTTj
— Tayla Harris (@taylaharriss) March 19, 2019
Sporting venues have historically been male-dominated spaces, and women have had almost zero representation.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is surrounded by 16 statues of famous sportspeople. Only two are of women – Betty Cuthbert and Shirley Strickland, both of whom were Olympic athletes.
Pitch to Plinth is an online database that records statues around the world (though so far, Australia is not on their radar).
All the more important this unveiling has come today. It marks an important moment for all women in sport.
Here's my piece for @GuardianAus on the powerful @taylaharriss statue that was unveiled in @FedSquare today. A big moment not just for Tayla and the #AFLW, but for all #womeninsport.https://t.co/zqv8HuSlww
— Kasey Symons (@kaseysymons) September 11, 2019
As Kasey Symons writes today in The Guardian, “This statue is for the women in sport community. It is for everyone who, on the night the powerful image of Harris was posted, trolled and deleted, saw the horrendous comments directed at her for simply doing her job as a footballer.”
— theoutersanctum (@outersanctum01) September 10, 2019
The statue is a physical manifestation of the enduring strength and optimistic future of all women in sports in Australia.