INTHEBLACK November 2023 - Magazine - Page 35
“Key to equality is being able to control your own
destiny, but it still seems that women players and
women’s competitions are expected to be satisfied
with the crumbs that the men’s organisations are
Alex Pantling - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images
MICHAEL BURKE, VICTORIA UNIVERSITY
sponsorship is helping to make the game more
attractive for all, she says.
“We’ve had some amazing partners come
on board, like Commonwealth Bank and
Subway,” she says. “LEGO Australia has come
on board as our first official Legacy partner,
and it’s really exciting to have support from a
brand with such a global reach.
“Commercially, it’s been important for us
to partner with high-profile organisations
to make sure that we’re pushing the positive
message about women’s football and getting it
into every home.”
Millikin explains that Football Australia’s
club development program is seeking to drive
women’s inclusion through education and
resources for clubs. She says the more women
and girls in football, the better the game will be.
“It’s going to not only drive more
participation and retention in our sport, it’s
also going to drive better health outcomes
across the board. Plus, more commercial
partnerships and sponsorship for the game.”
Millikin says reaching gender parity in
participation by 2027 has required Football
Australia to “challenge the way we’ve always
“We need to make sure that we’re being
innovative with our initiatives,” she says.
“For example, outdoor football is our bread
and butter. However, what we’re finding
through research is that many women and
girls actually want social formats of the game,
so we need to align the ecosystem around
those opportunities to increase participation.”
Club facilities have also presented
a challenge to female participation in
the sport. Millikin says a national facilities
audit has revealed that 60 per cent of
community sporting grounds don’t have
a women’s change room.
“That’s a big statistic,” she says. “For women
and girls coming to a community sporting
ground, that is going to directly affect whether
they stay and continue playing football.
Building the right infrastructure is one of
the biggest challenges to achieving parity
CLOSING THE PAY GAP
It has been 50 years since tennis legend Billie
Jean King was successful in her drive for equal
prize money for women in the US Open.
It took another 34 years for all tennis majors
to follow suit.
Outside of the Grand Slams, however,
a wage gap in tennis persists, as it does in
almost every sport. At the 2022 Italian Open
in Rome, for example, Novak Djokovic, the
winner of the men’s tournament, received
€836,355 (A$1.4 million). Iga Swiatek, who
won the women’s event, earned less than half
that. Each played the best of three-set matches
against the same number of opponents
throughout the tournament.
In response to public backlash, Italian Open
organisers have committed to awarding equal
prize money by 2025.
A 2019 report into pay equity in sport
by Champions of Change Sport, finds that
revenue and athlete pay depend mainly on
broadcasting and media rights. It notes
that investment in women’s sport reflects a
commercial and strategic decision that is likely
to drive an increase in revenue and greater
success for women’s teams.