Does it matter that a VFL coach is a mother?

This week the Herald Sun posted an article on it’s website with a heading along the lines of ‘Mum wins VFL coaching role’. The article is now online with a more appropriate heading of ‘Peta Searle lands assistant coaching role at Port Melbourne.’ The article begins like this – the emphasis in bold is mine;

A MELBOURNE mum has made history by becoming the first female coach in the VFL.

Mother of two Peta Searle landed the assistant coaching job at VFL premier Port Melbourne yesterday, ahead of two male applicants, after coaching in the Victorian Women’s Football League.

I thought perhaps her title as a mother was in some way relevant to her role, is she the mother of the coach, or the captain perhaps? No, in fact Ms Searle earned the position from her experience;

Port Melbourne coach Gary Ayres said in the end it was a “fairly easy decision” to appoint Searle.

“We’re in a position where football and a lot of sports are very, very progressive and I just feel she’s the best fit for that particular position.

“Her credentials stack up very, very well. She understands the game, she’s played the game,” Ayers said last night.

A school teacher, Searle has played women’s football for more than 15 years and coached Darebin Falcons to five successive premierships in the VWFL.

This year Searle accepted a role with under-18 TAC Cup side Western Jets, where she was assistant coach of an under-16 squad and head coach of another squad.

So why is it relevant that she is a mother? Why? I scrolled to the bottom of the page to ask this question in the comments section. The article appeared on November 30, and as of writing this article on December 3 my comment is yet to appear.

What interested me in the comments at the bottom of the post was the amount of people celebrating the decision, but also those disregarding her credentials and feeling threatened by her appointment. There was only one comment similar to mine by Meg of Canberra; “Why does the story lead with a reference to her being a mother? What does that have to do with her appointment? Would you lead an article about a male coach with a reference to him being a father?”

It’s a good point. I’d like to think that once I am a mother it’s not a standard reference point for everything else I do.

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