Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) Pacific Legacy ’23 initiative continues to create viable pathways for women in football through the Women in Media programme, which up-skills females from the Indo-Pacific and First Nations regions in mobile journalism and sports commentary.

Women in Media has been developed and delivered in partnership with OFC and ABC International Development and is supported by FIFA and Team Up. This initiative aims to create a more equal Oceania by addressing the gender disparity that is prevalent in sports media, an industry traditionally dominated by men.

Sally Eeles, Project Manager for ABC International Development, highlights the importance of the Women in Media platform and its ability to form a lasting legacy for females in the region and in the sporting space.

“It is vital to share knowledge and opportunities across the Indo-Pacific and Australia to not only create and strengthen networks but to enhance the capacity and ability of all women in media to develop personally and professionally,” said Eeles.

“Enhancing such skills as sports commentary opens the door to opportunities for not just women broadcasters, but women in sport generally, in their communities and in the world beyond.”

Experiencing the diverse possibilities and pathways of football is commentary participant Cynthia Seda. Seda, who is from the Solomon Islands, enjoyed most of her childhood playing football with her brother and growing a strong passion for futsal. Having seen an advert on Facebook for Women in Media, it didn’t take much convincing for Cynthia to send in an application.

With an endorsement from her CEO at Solomon Islands National Radio, Cynthia grasped at the opportunity, swapping her futsal shoes for a microphone as she delved into sports commentary for the first time.

“So far, I love it. I really love it. This training has given me really important knowledge. This training really boosted the knowledge that I needed. And for a start, and a beginner like me, I think this is the way forward,” she said.

Seda’s Women in Media journey has created numerous once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, including attending a two-week in-person training course in Brisbane, Australia to the privilege of commentating at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The World Cup was a moment which Eeles describes as “the perfect canvas upon which to initiate a programme to develop skills, provide networking opportunities and most especially offer a ‘once in a lifetime’ chance for the participants to attend and work at a world-class event, alongside sports reporters from across the globe.”

Seda hopes the momentum of women in football, boosted by the FIFA Women’s World Cup, continues grow to in the Oceania region. She emphasises that there are numerous talented women and girls in the Pacific with exceptional football skills, but there’s a lack of representation, particularly in the field of female commentary.

“Back at home, like we have a lot of different women and girls who have a lot of amazing talents in football. But we also lack on the other hand, a female commentator,” reflects Seda.

Inspiring a change of attitudes, behaviours and beliefs is Solomon Island’s Elizabeth Osifelo, who attended Women in Media as a participant alongside Seda.

“We (Solomon Islands) currently have our only female commentator, who is also with us on this programme,” said Seda.

Leading a Pacific legacy of her own, Osifelo has commentated at the inaugural OFC Women’s Championship 2023 and OFC U19 Women’s Championship just this year alone.

“We’re so proud to have her, she’s really paving the way for a lot of aspiring commentators, like me and the other girls back home,” said Seda.

The Women in Media stands as a testament to OFC’s commitment to fostering diversity and empowerment within sports media. By addressing the underrepresentation of females in this field, the programme not only opens doors for women broadcasters but also paves the way for an equal Oceania.