In a first-of-its-kind initiative, Australia’s major sporting organizations have combined to tackle gender discrimination by guaranteeing top female athletes are paid equally to their male equivalents.
The CEOs of Cricket Australia, Basketball Australia, and Football Federation Australia have pledged to honor the "Pathway to Pay Equality" pact by the Male Champions of Change Institute, which sets out a detailed pathway to pay equality — including equal prize money, equal exposure, and equal opportunity. Additional signatories include Tennis Australia, Rugby Australia, and Rowing Australia.
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“We know that the gender pay gap between elite-level athletes across a number of sports still exceeds many other sectors,” the report states. “There is a pay equity gap where men and women competing in the same sport do not receive equal pay for work of equal and comparable value. Where it is in our control to close this gap, we are committed to doing so.”
According to the report, Australian sport has an overall gender pay gap of 27%. The national average sits at 21.3%.
CEO of Golf Australia Stephen Pitt hopes all sports will fulfill their commitment and follow in the footsteps of Tennis Australia, Cricket Australia, and Golf Australia — all which currently offer equal prize money or an equal base rate of pay. By doing so, Pitt believes athletes and fans alike will benefit.
"With men and women competing for equal prize money, sponsors and governments will have a much greater appetite to invest,” Pitt announced in the report. “And fans, well, they will benefit from access to two elite level competitions.”
All signatories will self-assess their progress in pay equality each year. They will be measured against 16 categories, which include developing a strong pipeline of potential talent, offering genuine high-performance pathways, and equal conditions, allowances, and development resources.
"Sport is such a unifying force in Australia. We can and should be leading the way globally in championing gender equality through every aspect of sport - access, participation, investment, recognition and pay for our elite women athletes” - @Kate_Jenkins_#WomenInSport— Danielle Warby (@DanielleWarby) February 18, 2019
For Billie Jean King, former professional tennis star and founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, pay equality throughout Australian sport would provide benefits to Australia's economic growth and societal wellbeing. It’s an initiative, King announced, that could go global.
"The idea of activating the entire sports eco-system to hasten change is an approach that could be considered and replicated throughout the world,” she stated.