Over 140,000 women and girls have a direct connection with Rugby League - whether it be as administrators, players, coaches, employees, volunteers or club members- women really are at the heart of the game.
Wednesdays lunch to be held at the Terrace Bar at Canterbury League Club will honour the many females involved in the Club including staff, partners, members, junior league representatives, corporate partners and community partners. The lunch will also see the presentation of the inaugural Karen Folkes Award which will be awarded for outstanding contribution by a female to Rugby League.
Funds raised at the lunch will be donated to the NRLs Women in League charity partner the McGrath Foundation.
At Fridays clash with the Broncos the players will run out in the Bulldogs black jersey for the first time this season with the jerseys featuring pink numbers in honour of women in league.
Members of the public will have the chance to own a piece of history with the player worn and signed jerseys to be auctioned after the game to raise funds for the Bulldogs in the Community programme. Full details will be on the Bulldogs website at the conclusion of the game.
Channel 9s community team will be supporting Bulldogs in the Community and Women in League at ANZ Stadium on Friday where attendees will be able to capture the moment in a special photo hub, with special guests visiting the booth throughout the night. A number of giveaways will also be available.
Earlier this month Bulldogs favourite Dene Halatau was one of eight finalists for the Women in League Favourite Son Award. The award recognises the contribution of an NRL player at Premiership level who embodies the values and qualities of a true Rugby League ambassador, both on and off the field; in which their integrity and reputation makes the game more appealing to women and they are someone who encourages women to involve their families in Rugby League.
The Harvey Norman Women in League Round has grown to be an integral part of the Telstra Premiership season with the round demonstrating the diversity of women involved in Rugby League and the roles they play across all levels of the game, in addition to highlighting the role that the game plays in engaging communities through sport, social activities and volunteering.
The appointment of senior female Directors and Managers within the industry continues to grow annually.
The number of women in senior/executive management/board positions has increased to 19 in 2013 (almost double what it was two years ago with 10 in 2011).
There are six women in NRL club board positions (Broncos, Cowboys, Eels, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs and Warriors).
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.
27,500 girls have participated (ball in hand) in NRL game development programs in schools across Australia so far in 2013, with that number expected to reach 90,000 by the end of the year.
The NRL has two full-time Female Participation National Development Officers to grow female player numbers and provide relevant new pathways, programs and initiatives.
Elite womens competitions held annually include the All Stars and Interstate Championships, with the Jillaroos playing in the 2013 Festival of World Cups in the UK in July. This will be their fourth World Cup appearance.
There are 19 countries around the world where women play Rugby League regularly including Australia, England, France, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Russia.