Fremantle forward Kellie Gibson was one of almost 500 guests celebrating ‘women kicking goals’ at the club’s International Women’s Day luncheon on Friday at Crown Ballroom.

Gibson was in attendance as she was an unfortunate omission from the AFLW team travelling to Geelong for Saturday’s clash,

The Freo star, who kicked three goals in Fremantle’s round five victory against the Western Bulldogs, relished the chance to be a special guest at the function.

“It’s a great atmosphere there’s been some great guests and everyone is super excited to be here,” Gibson said.

“International Women’s Day means a lot to me. Being in a male-dominated sport and working in sport as well, it’s great to be able to celebrate the achievements of women in society.”

While the day celebrated women’s achievements, it also served to recognise the inequity in education, jobs and in respect for women around the world and highlighted ways to make jobs, pay and life outcomes equitable for women.

The event included a panel discussion with three high-profile women including Seven West Media CEO Maryna Fewster, the AFL’s general manager of inclusion and social policy Tanya Hosch and former newsreader and journalist Dixie Marshall, who is now the head of Flare, a digital storytelling business.

The trio discussed their experiences in their professional careers while giving invaluable advice to those in the room.

“The panel discussion was really empowering, they had great stories to tell and great advice. I’ll definitely be taking a lot of that on board,” Gibson said.

“I think for everyone, it’s been really empowering and everyone is so happy to be here and celebrating the day.”

As well as the guest panel, Fremantle board member Colleen Hayward gave the Welcome to Country and Chris Sutherland, managing director of co-major sponsor Programmed, spoke about his company’s efforts in bridging the gender divide.

The lunch was wrapped up with a performance from Australian singing sensation Kate Cebrano, who sung a number of her hits while sharing her own personal experiences as a woman in the music industry.

Fremantle CEO Dale Alcock said he was thrilled to see the event taking off.

“This is the third time we have hosted this event and we are proud to say that it’s grown from last year and is now the biggest International Women’s Day event run by a sporting club in Australia,” Alcock said.

“We are now well into our third AFLW season and we have learnt so much about the AFLW, ourselves and the outstanding opportunity it presents to the club, our staff and of course the wonderful AFLW players that we have at our club.

“Women’s football is experiencing exponential growth and our AFLW players are strong role models for all of the young women playing Australian Rules.”

Gibson said it was tough to miss Saturday’s clash with Geelong but had confidence in her teammates to get the win.

“I’m feeling a lot better today. Earlier on in the week was a little bit rough but concussion can be a very serious injury, so the club just wanted to rest me this week,” Gibson said.

“Hopefully, I’ll be good to take on North Melbourne next week but I’ve got full faith in the squad and the girls heading to Geelong so I’m looking forward to watching and cheering them on.”