Reflecting On The Women’s World Cup And Continued Challenges Facing Womens Sport
World Number 1. It’s a phrase that over the last few days has been loudly proclaimed for the likes of Ash Barty and Sally Fitsgibbon. Both recently claimed Number 1 rankings for their respective sports tennis and surfing. It’s a great moment for Australian women in sport, but it highlights that while women are starting to get the media spotlight, equality of pay at various levels is far from matching that spotlight.
Back on the football field, the Matildas and the PFA have brought gender pay equality to the fore and have challenged the status quo trying to gain equal support of prize money for this year’s World Cup. “Teams at the 2019 Women’s World Cup will be fighting for just 7.5 per cent of the purse handed out at the 2018 men’s World Cup in Russia.” (ABC NEWS)
So if our highest ranked womens football team, and world number 1 female athletes can’t get equal pay – what goes on at grassroots level? For many clubs it’s a case of priorities, and like the mainstream the money goes to who gets more attention and this is more often than not, the male teams of the clubs. But what we’re missing is laying the foundation to develop and nurture female talent to go on and become the next Ash Barty, Sally Fitzgibbon or more relevantly Sam Kerr.
It was a chance conversation between one of UNSW FC’s executive and Darren Siemsen Director of Emergency Trade Services (ETS) discussing some of the issues facing women’s sport and football in particular that has led to a new key partnership between ETS and UNSW FC. It was revealed to Darren that it was not uncommon for mens competing in the state and national competitions of football were receiving 2 or 3 times as much as female players in their respective competitions.
Upon being told that UNSW FC were aiming to support its players equally, Darren was happy to jump at the chance to partner with UNSW FC and promote equality between UNSW FC’s top mens and womens footballers. Darren Siemsen says “The inequality at this level is astounding, and we felt very strongly that we could help change that.”
For UNSW FC it is the first time that they have been able to provide much needed support to its top footballers and they are proud to be partnered with a brand so strongly believing in gender equality in sport. President Robin Chan says “The support ETS provides will make sure we are able to continue to achieve the goal of developing and nurturing female talent to play football at the highest level as well as pursuing academic excellence. Being a UNSW sporting club, we also aim to develop the strong female leaders of the future on and off the field.”
It is that vision that Darren and ETS really latched on to and it’s an exciting time for both parties as they continue working to building an equal future for football at the grassroots level.