How The Matilda’s Pay Dispute Could Spark Real Change

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!

Diahann x

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Take Note: Women’s Sport Is a Seriously Untapped Market

The myth that there is no interest in women’s sport is crumbling fast in the wake of the Matilda’s World Cup run as well as the Diamond’s epic Netball World Cup win.

They are the talk of the town, and rightly so – the Matildas magnificent win over Brazil in the FIFA Women’s World Cup was Australia’s first ever win in the knockout stage of either the men’s or women’s global competition. Now that is an accomplishment to be proud of as fellow Australians.

Also, just a day earlier, the trans-Tasman netball championship final wowed TV audiences as the QLD Firebirds scored five straight goals in the final minutes to snatch a 57-56 win over the NSW Swifts in Brisbane.

During these epic wins, the internal metrics measuring statistics on stories at ABC News Online told its own story with audiences furiously clicking on women’s sports stories, and the appetite for them looks a long way from being satisfied.

In regards to success, ABC Grandstand’s article for the Matildas’ win over Brazil was the most popular for June 22, exceeding Jordan Spieth’s US open win and a host of ABC’s usual political stories. Similarly, the netball grand final caused lots of interest on social media, with the hashtag “Firebirds” trending nationally on twitter in Australia.

More and more, this ultimately is disproving the old myth that women’s team sports is inferior and less interesting than that of their male counterparts, as a result, proving that there does exist a significantly greater demand for greater media coverage of the women’s game. The illusion that there is no inherent interest in women’s sport is crumbling fast with questions of both the quality of play and the sport’s overall product are rapidly being answered.

In a way, the fact that many of these sportswomen have to balance their incredible on-field abilities with either full-time occupations or study shows that they are well-rounded, relatable individuals who must truly cherish the adoration and support they receive from the crowd.

What cannot be argued any longer, however, is that the quality of women’s sport still has some way to catch up to men. Yes, men will for the most part be taller, stronger and quicker than women in overall benchmarks, but if this were the only indicator and measurement for quality in all sport, there would never have been a market for women’s tennis, surfing or pretty much any Olympic event. Women’s sport may be physically different to that of the men’s, but it is essentially no less strategic or passionate.

Overall, playing and watching sport is meant for everyone. The joys and despairs felt watching our top sportsmen and women has been widespread, crossing the gender divide.

Now it’s time for the media to start putting the foundations in place for the eventual equality in news representation of women’s sport. It really is about time.

Diahann x

 

Matilda’s Pay Dispute

Matildas training

Australia’s women’s national football team has called off its entire tour of the United States as the pay dispute with Football Federation Australia (FFA) continues to escalate.

Last week, the Matildas confirmed their withdrawal from a Sydney training camp ahead of the planned tour, and have now upped the ante in attempts to call off their tour of the world champions. This drastic advocacy by the Matildas themselves just goes to show how important and serious this issue really is this issue is.

The Matildas thrilled Australian audiences earlier this year, when they reached the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup, becoming the first Australian representative team to reach the last eight in a football world cup. And rightfully so do they deserve to be paid a fair and just amount if that fact is anything to go by.

However it has been two months since the Matildas were payed after the players’ contracts expired and negotiations stalled because of their dispute.

Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) chief executive Adam Vivian said in a statement that “The Matildas are in a very interesting situation, they fundamentally have a full-time workload with part time pay, so we’re looking for an immediate correction to their pay scheme – that’s not a huge correction by the way, that correction sort of circa $150,000 in total in terms of the addition of what’s been offered,” he said.

Vivian said that at $21,000 a year for each player, there is no question the Matildas are underpaid. This statistic is beyond shocking especially when you compare it to the incredible salaries of their male counterparts.

Vivian does agree that it’s time for a more justifiable and substantial deal to be struck and says that the federation wouldn’t have worked so hard if they wanted to get an agreement that would better reflect the amazing standard of our women’s team.

It is good to see the players taking a stand because they are not being remunerated respectively, so ultimately it’ s not a game for them, when it comes to serious financial issues, its their livelihood that’s at stake.

Diahann x