Contact sport participation is dropping throughout world - I simply don't buy numbers you put upYes, it is widely accepted in AF circles that many females enjoy the challenge, thrill, & courage needed to tackle that AF offers, & most other sports don't.
(After they have been thoroughly trained to tackle safely, & to be as safe as possible when tackled).
There are also many other reasons to explain the female GR AF boom.
Virtually all the other reasons are fully explored in this link.
This account from an adult female, who is "brand new" to AF, of why she decided last Nov. to try AF is one of the most detailed I have encountered in the media -& is interesting. She has done half marathons, but surprisingly found the fitness needed for AF challenging! Of course, not all women...www.bigfooty.com
Why is it, for females who are reasonably athletic, "... hard for a newcomer to make an impact" in this non-contact sport?
What state have you been living in since 2015?
For females who want to tackle in NSW, ACT, & Qld., where RL & RU resonates much more strongly in schools & the MSM etc, it would be normal to expect these females decide to try/play female contact RL or RU. Most are not-why?
(Female contact AF nos. are far superior to female contact RL & RU nos. in NSW, ACT, & Qld.).