Respect - more than just a word.

Matildas Win Big, But Still No Equal Pay

Written by Ally Oliver-Perham

I’ll be the first to admit that sport isn’t exactly my thing. But equal pay – that definitely is my thing. So when I heard that our country’s finest female soccer players are STILL being paid significantly less than their male counterparts, well, let’s just say I was significantly pissed off on their behalf.

Brazil v Australia: Round of 16 - FIFA Women's World Cup 2015

A few days ago, the Matildas, our national women’s soccer team, made sporting history with their knock out win over Brazil, scoring 1-0 in the eighty minute match. No Australian team (male or female) has ever managed to that. Ever. To translate for  non-sports people like myself, this was a really big moment, not only for the Matildas but also for Australia.

In soccer, players are paid for each match played (this is called a ‘match wage’). As the team progresses, the match wage increases. Which is why it’s horrifying to learn that when the Socceroos lost their match against Spain each member of the team was awarded $7,500 for their efforts – whereas the Matildas were paid only $500 in match fees for the games leading up to their historic win. 

This means that if the Matildas reach the World Cup final, they will be paid less than the Socceroos get for a single group-stage game.

So to put it in actual figures, if the Matildas make it to the final in Canada, they will earn a total $5,600 in match fees while the Socceroos, under match fees higher than they are now, had the chance to earn $69,000 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil (SBS).

 Here’s a little clue into why women’s sport isn’t given the respect it deserves:
A recent study by the Australian Sports Commission found women feature in only 7 per cent of sports programming in Australia. It is a backwards step compared to a decade ago and highlights a significant gender gap in a country where sport is king (ABC News).

Let’s all stop for a moment and absorb that factoid. Only 7 percent. 


The lack of respect given to our sports women compared to male athletes is blatantly obvious. And why is it this way, you ask? Well, I suppose it all starts with some dudes in suits who make decisions which financially benefit themselves and other dudes in suits. And those dudes grow to enjoy and depend on these financial benefits, and seek to maintain this arrangement to the bitter end. And perhaps it’s the totally misguided belief that women’s sport is boring or women aren’t very good at it. Thank you to team Matilda for disproving this unfounded notion.

Given that we’re living in the year 2015, it’s crazy to think that our female athletes are so underappreciated. I mean, woman have the vote in Australia (and have done for over a century), we’ve had a female PM, we no longer have to quit our public service jobs if we get married (true story), more girls graduate from university nowadays than boys – and goddamn it, we can wear leggings as pants in public if we so choose (guilty). So why then is equal pay still troubling us?

Sadly, I don’t have all the answers, but hopefully the Matilda’s historic win will bring this issue of the gender pay gap in sport front and centre. It’s been all over the media, so maybe this is a step forward. We can’t keep these antiquated sexist stereotypes in our culture forever –  for starters, it’s embarrassing, not to mention insulting.

The Norwegian womens soccer team got so sick of the sexist stereotypes surrounding female athletes that they decided to release a mockumentary, in which they admitted, “We’re shit, we suck. Plain and simple.” It’s pretty funny, so watch and release all  that gender stereotype hate fire you’ve been building up.


To stay across the Matildas pay issue, check out Equal Pay for Matildas community on Facebook. 

Ally Oliver-Perham Headshot2015Ally Oliver-Perham
As one of the co-founders of Rosie, a designer and arts educator, Ally is passionate about youth and creativity. She is constantly making, designing and writing things for Rosie. Ally is addicted to podcasts, wasabi peas and red lipstick. Her dog Scout is widely acknowledged as her spirit animal.


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