Just as female tennis stars fought the gender pay gap in the 1970s, so too can the Matildas pay dispute and strike effect real change in soccer in Australia.
This is definitely an opportunity to grasp and make the most of if done correctly. They have the ability and capabilities to promote a real change and spark interest in the long debated manner. Hopefully the Matildas strike is not in vain and can effect real, systematic and fundamental change to the inequalities they face when it comes to their salary.
The Matildas, Australia’s national women’s soccer team, have gone on strike and it has been a long time coming.
In June, as interest grew around their success in the FIFA World Cup, reports began to circulate revealing just how little the players were being paid in comparison to their male counterparts, the Socceroos.
In the lead up to their incredible knockout game with Brazil, the ABC reported that each Matilda had received$500 in match fees, while male players received $7500 for doing the same thing! Furthermore, while soccer’s top sportswomen received approximately $21,000 per annum, its sportsmen could make the same amount from a handful of group-stage tournament games. These statistics are beyond depressing in which serious action needs to be taken.
The Matildas’ contracts with Football Federation Australia expired at the end of June, however the bargaining process for replacement contracts has been going on for more than 6 months, which essentially means that the player have not been payed for 2 months which has understandably left the players feeling hurt and disrespected which ultimately saw them withdraw from their training camp.
Matildas forward Ashley Sykes said in a statement that “Everyone wants to play, everyone wants to represent their country. But we’re not going to do that until we get some progress.”
If enough light is shed on this issue, and the media portray it a case that needs serious readjustment, then fundamental change to the system is a likely probability. The actions of women in tennis in 1970 were instrumental in securing the high profile and competitive nature of professional women’s tennis that we see today. Ultimately, the actions of the Matildas are similarly important: their success will pave the way for future generations of sportswomen, for the success and popularity of the women’s soccer, for equal pay campaigns across industries, and we should support them in their fight.
Check out the highlights from our winning match against the mighty Brazil! Inspiring stuff!