The start of the sixth AFLW season has been delayed until January because of COVID-19.
The AFL planned on staging AFLW matches in December, ensuring the entire women's season would not overlap with the 2022 men's competition.
The league says it remains committed to a full 10-round AFLW season plus finals but rejigged the calendar to "provide greater flexibility and least disruption".
AFLW has been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
There was no AFLW premiership awarded in 2020 after the season was halted, while Sydney's northern beaches COVID-19 cluster created chaos for GWS at the start of this year.
The health crisis has, in many cases, also exacerbated the professional sacrifices made by part-time athletes and part-time staff at AFLW teams.
COVID-19 has deeply hurt the AFL's finances, with costly hubs and charter flights coming at the same time as a nosedive in ticket sales.
But the governing body has committed to expanding its women's league in 2022-23, ensuring all 18 AFL clubs are represented.
"We know the nature of playing professional sport in a pandemic means we will continue to be presented with challenges in the lead up to, and during, the season," AFLW chief Nicole Livingstone said in a statement on Thursday.
"We will continue to listen to and work closely with the players and their clubs to ensure the best possible outcome for everyone in the game.
"We openly acknowledge there are unique challenges and recognise the non-football commitments of both AFLW players and staff and through this open dialogue.
"We know the AFLW community is absolutely determined to work through them to achieve another ground-breaking season."
AFL Players' Association chief executive Paul Marsh backed the delay as being the right call.
"The decision to push back the start of the season is a sensible one in the current circumstances and has been worked through with AFLW player leaders," Marsh said.
"The players' ongoing flexibility is to be commended.
"We appreciate the AFL's willingness to in turn work with us to recognise the impact of these changes on the players' non-football lives in the agreement we have reached with them."