Unable to find women's sports magazines, Sydney 11-year-old Abbie decided to make one herself - and help disadvantaged girls in the process.

Sick of not being able to find women’s sports magazines anywhere, 11-year-old Abbie decided to ‘be the change’ and make one herself.

Abbie, who hails from Sydney, loves her sport. She plays Aussie rules and cricket, she skateboards, she previously played tennis, and wants to try her hand at basketball.

But she struggled to find any magazines featuring the stories of women whose footsteps she wants to follow in.

So she decided to make her own.

Her Way is an online magazine, featuring stories, facts, photos, and activities all about female athletes and the sports they participate in.

“It’s a magazine fully about women’s sport because there aren’t really any other ones; I haven’t seen a magazine about women’s sport in my whole life, I don’t think,” Abbie told The Inner Sanctum.

The year five student wanted to combine her passions of women’s sport and writing to create something to fill the gap in the market.

“I enjoy writing, writing’s always been my favourite topic at school,” she said.

“I thought combining those two (writing and women’s sport) would be a good thing I would enjoy, and I hope other people would enjoy it, too.”

And enjoy it, they have; Abbie has sold about 1100 copies of the first issue, which was released on Sunday, September 26, at $2 a copy.

“I was seriously hoping, like, 10 people would buy it, and we’ve definitely gone past that,” she said.

“I think it’s mostly sold in Australia, but I think a few people from New Zealand have bought it, and I think two or three people from America I have bought it as well, so that was cool.”

Not only are readers learning about women’s sports and the athletes that participate, but they are also helping the next generation of sportswomen by supporting a UNICEF sports program.

The Empower Girls Through Cricket program run by UNICEF, in partnership with the International Cricket Council (ICC), is hosted around the world to help girls in developing countries unite and build life skills while enjoying the great game that is cricket.

One dollar from each copy sold is donated to the program.

“Me and my Dad had done some researching and we found UNICEF. I wanted to [donate to the program] because it was helping girls in countries like Sri Lanka play cricket,” she said.

“We’re going to end up giving them over $1000, so I’m happy with that, and I think we’ve chosen the right charity to give money to.”

Abbie has started playing cricket this year after being inspired by her sister. Photo: Supplied – Her Way Magazine.

Piecing together Issue No. 1

Abbie dedicated about an hour a day over about two weeks to producing the first issue of Her Way, with the help of her Mum and Dad.

“My Dad‘s been helping a bit with putting the whole thing together because I’m new to the app that we are using,” she said.

“He’s helped me a bit with researching and he takes all the photos, so we have permission to use the photos.

“My Mum’s been helping with the website and how to get them to people – I’m still a bit confused about it.”

She was stoked that her first interview for her first issue was with an Australian professional golfer.

“The first interview I had probably ever done was with Hannah Green, who was on the cover,” she said.

“She’s from Australia but when I interviewed her she was in America. We had to do it over Zoom.”

Along with the Green interview, found amongst the pages were athlete spotlights, the upcoming month in sport, a WBBL preview, and an SSN signing period review.

She drew iconic runner Betty Cuthbert, pulled together five fast facts about women’s sport, and created a find-a-word and a ‘Who am I?’ to encourage reader engagement.

The next edition is coming

Issue number two of Her Way is released on Monday, October 25, and Abbie couldn’t be more excited.

“I think it’s going to be way better – not way better, but more exciting than the first one,” she said.

“It’s going to be a few pages longer, it might be a bit different but hopefully it’s still good.”

She hinted that one of the athletes featured is an Olympian – a massive coup, considering it is only the second edition.

The offers of help and time from people involved at all levels of sport has been overwhelming for Abbie.

“A few people have offered help in getting in touch with athletes, so I didn’t really expect that,” she said.

“Karrie Webb, one of the best golfers, she’s commented and said stuff; Sandra Sully [an Australian journalist] has been liking a lot of my things on Instagram and Twitter.

“I didn’t really expect any of this if I’m being honest but it’s been really cool, so I think I should just enjoy it while I can.”

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She hoped to set up a subscription service so readers could collect every issue when it is released.

“We think we’re going to put [the magazine] out every month now because of how many people have bought it,” she said.

“A few people have asked about a subscription. There is possibly going to be a subscription pretty soon, so make sure to keep collecting it.”

Abbie’s own sporting passions

While Abbie loves playing and watching all women’s sport, her favourite is Aussie rules.

“I usually play in the forward line because I’m the shortest player – well, I was the shortest player on my team last year and they were about 20 girls – so I was usually right up next to the goals in the forward line, and it’s also my favourite position,” she said.

Her passion came to a head when she was named an Auskicker of the Year nominee in 2019, which saw her travel to the AFL Grand Final between Richmond and GWS Giants.

She had the opportunity to present Richmond’s Josh Caddy with his premiership medal post-match, but her highlight was meeting some of the AFLW players who were present on the day.

“I met Erin Phillips … she’s one of the best players of all time, so it was really cool to meet her there,” she said.

A full recount of her Auskicker of the Year experience is shared in issue number one of Her Way.

She has met countless other AFLW players, including former GWS captain Amanda Farrugia, who kick-started Abbie’s love for the Giants.

In the men’s competition, she supports Sydney, but instead of being conflicted when the Swans’ team joins the AFLW in 2023, she will support both teams.

“I think a few of the Giants players might switch teams, but I’ll have to go for both of them. I’ll always have originally gone for the Giants though,” she said.

Abbie has also met Daisy Pearce, whose footsteps she hopes to follow in.

“I hope to be an athlete or a sports journalist, like Daisy Pearce, who plays AFLW but she also commentates a lot,” Abbie said.

“I also kind of want to be a teacher, maybe a sports teacher; I just wanted to be something to do with sport or writing, I think.”

Abbie’s favourite sport to play and watch is Aussie rules. Photo: Supplied – Her Way Magazine.

Looking to the future

While Her Way is only just getting started, the opportunities presenting themselves are seemingly endless – just like Abbie’s bucket list of athletes to interview.

“I’ve got about a two-page list of people,” she said.

“I’ve put down a lot of people who have competed in the Olympics, or even someone like Cathy Freeman, it would be really cool if I could interview her; or skateboarder Sky Brown, she is 13, so I’d love to interview her.”

Not only does she have athletes in her sights, but she also wants to chat with other sports journalists like Mel McLaughlin, who she has already met once.

“I met Mel when I was coming back from the Auskicker of the Year thing. We were in Melbourne, I think at the airport,” she said.

“She was kind of surprised that I wanted to get a photo with her because she didn’t play sport, but I think it doesn’t matter if you play sport or not, she’s still really good.

“I’m really happy I got a photo with her then and got her autograph as well … I hope I can meet her again sometime though.”

She is thrilled with how beneficial her creation has been for different groups of people, and hopes to reach even more corners of the country and world.

“It’s a good way to learn more about women’s sport, and realise how important it is that women and men get treated equally, and they get the same amount of money and they both get the same crowds at games,” she said.

“I hope they realise that women’s sport is just as important as men’s sport,” she said.

“I hope people will go and watch more women’s sport competitions, and even other things like I hope in the future women will get paid the same amount of money as men in sport and in general.

“I hope people can just be like, ‘Oh, she’s really cool’; think about them the same as men’s players and think they’re as good as them.”

Buy your copy of Her Way Magazine for $2 at https://her-way-magazine.square.site/

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