The year 2015 will be remembered as the year women won and kept on winning. You name it, internationally, nationally and locally, Sydney University women took on all comers and excelled. So while the Matildas carried us to the World Cup quarter-finals, our Sydney Uni women’s soccer team made history as the club’s first squad to be crowned champions.

As Michelle Payne timed her run to perfection in the Melbourne Cup, our First Grade women’s hockey side went through the season undefeated and our Brydens Flames charged into the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) preliminary final.

When the Diamonds claimed their third straight World Cup title, our netballers became the Waratah Cup Premiers. In sync with the Southern Stars regaining the Ashes, our women’s cricket team captured the Twenty20 title. And it doesn’t end there.

Sydney Uni also made grand finals in women’s water polo, women’s volleyball and women’s AFL, and won the rugby premiership. Or here.

Individual athletes swept all before them. Skier Lavinia Chrystal, won her 10th national championship and our female athletes won every major open title on offer. Angela Ballard, of the Sydney Uni Athletic Club, is the World Champion after triumphing in the women’s T53 400m at the 2015 Paralympic Athletic World Championships. Lauren Fitzgerald won our first ever National Road Series title for the Velo Club, Flames captain Katie Ebzery was named in the Australian Opals basketball squad and Kim Spragg has been selected in the Australian women’s team to contest the 2016 World Ultimate Frisbee Championships. Sally Kehoe continues to inspire us with her successful campaign at the 2015 World Rowing Championships and Kyah Gray was selected to captain the Australian Women’s Indoor Hockey team for the Four Nations Tournament in South Africa. What a jam-packed paragraph of names to remember.

Success like this helps us see our #sportswomen for what they are: An untrending success story competing not only in their chosen sports but also for their deserved attention.

There has been a surge in numbers of Sydney Uni female Elite Program Athletes in recent years, with an increase of 50 athletes from 2010-11. Our program currently has 140 female members out of a total pool of 365 athletes. The representation is there but the coverage is still, well, getting there. Broader awareness of female athletes is on the up and up and not before time, with digital media fuelling the growth, recognition and popularity of #sportswomen.

Some of our female athletes, including hurdler Michelle “Shelly” Jenneke, boast Instagram, Twitter and Facebook followers of up to 100,000+. Outside of this self-promoted “Instafame” though, there is gaping potential for media exposure equivalent to that of their talented male counterparts. One step towards this would be securing a WNBL television deal after the ABC axed its 35 years of coverage. The high quality season has been sidelined by national media bodies, leaving clubs streaming through YouTube, live tweeting and using regional radio and newspaper mentions as a means to break the cycle where broadcasters say it doesn’t rate so don’t show it. Meanwhile, Basketball Australia’s proposition is- if you don’t show it, it doesn’t rate.

On the broadcast pitch, W-League Soccer is showcasing some of our best, including both Sydney Uni captain Liz Grey and Rachael Soutar named in the Western Sydney Wanderers, as well as Amy Harrison, Olivia Price and Melissa Caceres selected for Sydney FC. Sydney University Women’s Senior Coach, Heather Garriock, provides a familiar face through her guest commentary of the games on Fox Sports. Having played 125 internationals for Australia, representing the Matildas at the 2003, 2007 and 2011 World Cups and two Olympics, not to mention guiding our girls to their 2015 NPL1 premiership, Garriock’s presence in this role demonstrates the value and importance of female investment and voice, on both sides of the camera.

The reality is many elite sportswomen cannot make a living from sport alone, pursuing work and part-time study alongside their sporting careers. Support systems such as our Elite Athlete Program, which offered female athletes International Travel Grants to a total value of $16,100 in 2015, aim to ease the financial pressure faced, particularly in the lead up to the Olympics. However, more needs to be done. The amount of training required to reach for Rio requires a serious amount of backing as the privilege to compete for your country comes at a high cost.

If you think the countless achievements of our female sports stars in 2015 were breathtaking, this year promises to be a sweet 2016 for our Rio hopefuls. Sydney Uni Lionesses Keesja Gofers, Hannah Buckling, Lea Yanitsas, Bronte Halligan and Isobel Bishop have all been named in the Australian Stingers Water Polo squad. Chloe Dalton continues in the Australian Women’s Rugby 7s team on the back of taking out the Dubai Sevens. Milly Clark of Sydney Uni Athletic Club (SUAC) has qualified for the Olympic women’s marathon, and after making the 400m track semi-final at the Beijing World Championships Anneliese Rubie is right in the mix for selection. Beyond these fierce few there are many more on the radar for Rio, including Ella Nelson who ran 22.84 in the 200m recording a Rio qualifying performance and SUAC record in the process.

Teams are a whole and without the contribution of both our finest men and women there would be holes. Case in point is our status as the best sporting University in the country, crowned the Australian University Games Overall Champions. Olympic success is much the same. Every medal counts towards the country’s tally irrespective of gender. Sportswomen aren’t coming, they’re here. Let’s be here for them too.