IFAF is seeking to support the rising number of women playing American football ©IFAF

The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) has implemented a policy review to ensure it is supporting the growing number of women and girls participating in the sport.

It includes three core elements focusing on equipment and apparel, women in governance, and the representation of women in American football within IFAF's member federations.

"The time is right for this review with the rapid gender shifts we are seeing in participation in our sport, driven by the explosion of flag football, alongside growing understanding across sport of the specific needs of female athletes," said IFAF President Pierre Trochet.

"As IFAF, we have a responsibility and a commitment to ensure women and girls feel safe, confident and welcome playing all forms of American football.

"With this review, we want to send a clear message that American football is for everyone.

"To that end, we also recognise and commit to the need to accelerate female representation in governance."

American football is experiencing a rise in participation, with women and girls serving as the main drivers to the increase in flag football numbers.

Phoebe Schecter states that ensuring the comfort and protection of women in sport is vital to promoting inclusion ©IFAF
Phoebe Schecter states that ensuring the comfort and protection of women in sport is vital to promoting inclusion ©IFAF

In the United States, around 474,000 girls between the ages of six and 17 played flag football last year which represented a 63 per cent increase since 2019.

Furthermore, three US states - California, Arizona, and New York - have sanctioned girls' flag as a high school sport. 

British national team athlete Phoebe Schecter, who is on IFAF's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, is leading the equipment and apparel review.

"I am thrilled to be driving this important piece of work that will give female athletes in our sport a voice on what they wear when playing and training," she said.

"Ensuring the comfort and protection of women and girls - and the specific needs of female bodies - in sport is vital to promoting inclusion, removing barriers and driving participation worldwide."

IFAF is also reviewing its governing statutes to ensure that it is creating opportunities for diverse leadership.

The aim is to enhance governance among IFAF member federations and supporting them.

Findings from the full governance review are due to be presented at the organisation's Congress in November this year.