Gender inequality is rife in the sporting industry, particularly when it comes to soccer. Often, female soccer players aren't taken as seriously as their male counterparts and are paid significantly less, despite playing the exact same sport.
You'd think that by now, in 2019, more would have been done to combat this, but sexism in sport is still a huge issue. You only have to look back to earlier this year when the US women’s team sued governing body, US Soccer, alleging gender discrimination in earnings and working conditions - which hugely propelled pay disparity between the professional men's and women's team into the mainstream spotlight.
But, today, history has been made as Australian women's soccer team, the Matildas, have secured a groundbreaking equal pay deal aiming to "close the gap" between the men's and women's national teams.
It's a huge milestone in fighting against gender inequality. Keep scrolling to learn more about what the deal means for the future of professional female soccer players.
The gender pay gap in soccer has been skyrocketed into the spotlight in recent years.
via: Getty ImagesAccording to Reuters, figures from the Women’s Sports Foundation show that by age fourteen, girls drop out of sports at two times the rate of boys, with the lack of opportunities and access to equipment, social stigma, and safety and transportation cited as key reasons. And who's to blame them? The figures are dire, to say the least, and what motivation is there when sport, especially soccer, is deemed a man's world?
But, the truth is, more people than ever are watching, and supporting women's soccer.
And it seems women across the world have had enough of not being taken seriously.
The gender pay gap forces women to face greater challenges accessing basic necessities, including healthcare. The U… https://t.co/7kpJN1fG6y— Leana Wen, M.D. (@Leana Wen, M.D.)1562592780.0
In June, Australian women's soccer team, the Matildas, launched a campaign demanding prize-money parity ahead of the women’s World Cup.
via: Getty ImagesAnd 4 years earlier, the Australian women's team canceled a sell-out tour of the US following a dispute with the FFA over their pay, which the players said was so low it was "illegal."
But, this week, their efforts seem to finally be paying off.
History. A new landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement has been struck to close the pay gap between @TheMatildas… https://t.co/RaCBzEYCpx— Westfield Matildas (@Westfield Matildas)1572994860.0
Australian soccer's governing body announced it had reached an agreement with the players’ union on Wednesday.
So, how does the deal work and what exactly does it mean for women in the sport?
Under the new deal, female players will receive an increased share of prize money for FIFA World Cup qualification.
via: Getty ImagesTheir share will increase from 30 percent to 40 percent and will increase to 50 percent if they progress to the knockout stage.
Both sides will be valued equally...
Top female players will also see a boost to their salary.
via: Getty Images
And the deal includes reviewing the FFA's parental leave policy...
But, the new agreement, which is set to be finalized next week, doesn't necessarily mean the teams will be paid the exact same amount.
ultimately: if you base pay off performance (which is imo how it should be) then the matildas have earned equal, o… https://t.co/K29PHNQbfO— Jamie (@Jamie)1573007787.0
Either way, it's still a huge game-changer in the sport.
via: Getty ImagesAccording to the Guardian, Matildas defender, Alanna Kennedy, said collaboration between the two teams had been a big part of the deal negotiations. “For us as females, it’s always good when you’re appreciated and they show the support," she explained to News Corp Australia. “We’re hoping [it is finalized] by the end of the week. If we were to get it across the line it’s exciting and a huge step forward for us."
Many believe the deal proves that women's sport is finally getting valued the way it deserves.
the #Matildas CBA is about so much more than equal pay, too. - improved parental leave policy - improved player we… https://t.co/XSBqByaP5G— Samantha Lewis (@Samantha Lewis)1572998441.0
The deal will also likely encourage more young girls to get into the sport.
Currently, it's unclear what the deal means for prize money arrangements.
via: Getty ImagesPrize money in the men's game is significantly higher than for the women’s equivalent. The total prize pool for this year’s women’s World Cup in France was just $30 million compared to staggering $400 million at the men’s event in Russia in 2018 - offering a horrifying and stark reality at the inequality that's alive and kicking in the sport.
So, while both teams will now receive an equal cut of 40 percent of prize money...
via: Getty ImagesThe men will probably still earn more overall as their prize money is so much higher than their female counterparts.