By Lauren Rearick
It’s 2019, and frustratingly, many top female athletes still aren’t paid as much as their male counterparts. As of today, that’s no longer the case for Australia’s national women’s soccer team.
On Tuesday (November 5), the Football Federation Australia (FFA) announced the end to an existing pay gap between the male and female soccer players who play on the national teams, CNN reported. Through the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between FFA and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), the Australian men’s National Football Team (known as the Caltex Socceroos) and the Australian Women’s National Football Team (known as the Westfield Matildas) will receive equal pay and an equal share of commercial revenue; players receive commercial revenue for participating in public appearances and events.
The four-year agreement will expire in 2023, which ensures that the increased pay benefits the women during the 2022 World Cup, Huffington Post reported. Previously, the Matildas received 30 percent of the prize money if the team qualified for the World Cup. As part of the CBA, women now receive 40 percent of the prize money for qualifying, and 50 percent of the prize money if they are eliminated during knockout rounds, Huffington Post explained. Other benefits including an upgraded parental leave policy and access to a higher level of coaching support are included in the CBA.
Elise Kellond-Knight, midfielder for the Westfield Matildas, touched on what the CBA meant for the team in a statement. “We always wanted to be treated equal, to be able to step out onto that pitch with equal opportunity and the equal facilities the men have been exposed to. Now we are going to completely included,” she said.
Gender-based pay disparity isn’t exclusive to the sports industry, but the issue received renewed attention following the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Ahead of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, 28 players of the United States women’s national team (USWNT) filed suit against U.S. soccer for gender discrimination, ESPN reported. All 28 signees sought equal pay, and alleged that for every $13,166 a male made playing a single friendly soccer match, women made $4,950 — this, despite the fact that the USWNT wins way more frequently than the men’s team does. A hearing on the suit is scheduled for May 2020.
And it seems members of the world champion USWNT are paying attention to Australia: On Instagram Stories, Megan Rapinoe posted a screen capture of the news, tagged the U.S. soccer Instagram, and called the Matildas world leaders.