Whether you're AFL, football, union, league, tennis, golf, surfing or professional curling, the recent Matildas equal pay decision is a landmark moment for pay equality in sport. But to a lot of people, it seems completely unjustified. Here's what you should tell them.
3. INCREASING FEMALE WAGES INCREASES MALE WAGES, TOO
A far higher percentage of young Australian girls compete in football than any other sport.
However, the Australian game has shown a general ineptitude over the years in transitioning children who play football into actual fans of the Socceroos or Matildas (let alone the A-League and W-League).
Across Australia, sports participation rates for football are as high as 45% of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18. AFL is back around the 16% mark.
Yet AFL is the richest sport in Australia, financially sustainable to the point they can make AFLW attendances free, while securing deals in their new CBA negotiations that vastly outstrip the amount the W-League can afford to pay its players.
Why? Because while kids play football, they support AFL.
The lack of ability to turn football players into football fans is the greatest hurdle facing Australian football financially, and its greatest potential source of revenue going forward.
By literally telling parents and girls that we equally value women's football to men's football, you drastically increase the chance of them...
a) Feeling like they have a future career in the game
b) Valuing female football themselves, by supporting female football in Australia through attending matches and purchasing merchandise
c) Retaining their allegiance to football, rather than converting to one of Australia's more mainstream sports, and generating revenue for them instead.
Over 3.3 million women attend sport matches every year and at last count, football wasn’t even in the top 10. By increasing investment into women’s football, FFA are expanding a new market. The better the footballers, the more fans. The more fans, the more money for men’s and women’s football.
This isn't an argument exclusive to football. By making the same decision, you gain the same positive effect, whether it's AFL, league, union, cricket or professional goat racers in Kyrgyzstan.
By paying female athletes equally, you're increasing your chances of attracting and keeping females in your sport, as players and as fans of both men and women’s sports.
But if women are so marketable, why is equal pay even an issue?