Ministry of Sport

Australia’s Sporting Codes Unite To Accelerate Pay Equality For Elite Women Athletes

Australia’s major sporting codes have united to advance equal pay for elite women athletes, throwing their support behind the release of the Pathway to Pay Equality report, which outlines the specific actions needed to close the gender pay gap.

This significant joint initiative from the Male Champions of Change (MCC) Sport group, is believed to be the first time internationally that leaders of competing sporting codes and clubs have united on the issue, according to Founder and Convenor of MCC Sport, Elizabeth Broderick.

“Sport plays a critical role in Australia’s economy, national identity, social cohesion and community well-being,” Broderick said.

“Yet equal pay – the most visible manifestation of a genuine commitment to equality – still remains out of reach for elite women athletes across many sports.

“We believe the inter-connected steps outlined in the report provide the pathway to gender equality and delivering equal pay in sport.”

The new report from Male Champions of Change Sport outlines:

  • The difference between like-for-like pay equity and sustainable pay equality in the context of sport
  • A model to achieve equal base pay in sport
  • Why arguments against equal pay for elite women athletes don’t stack up
  • Support required across the entire sports ecosystem to achieve pay equality
  • A ‘point in time’ self-assessment of each MCC Sport member’s progress on the Pathway to Pay Equality

All the signatories have committed to evaluate and report on their performance annually to ensure they accelerate progress towards pay equality over the next five years.

Sport Australia Chief Executive, Kate Palmer, says Australia has the opportunity to be a global leader.

“Many of our elite women athletes are among the most successful on the world stage.

“As a sports-loving nation, we are championing a system-wide re-set in the way we support, pay and reward our female athletes.

“The benefits to our economy, our community and our athletes will be exponential,” Palmer said.

Tennis Australia first introduced equal pay at the Australian Open in 1984 and has consistently reaped rewards from its focus on equality and inclusion.

Tennis Australia Chief Executive, Craig Tiley, said: “we’ve demonstrated through equal prize money and exposure that women’s tennis has massive appeal and can more than hold its own.

“This is driven by the belief that the best player of a Grand Slam event – both male and female – should be rewarded equally for their ability to achieve at the highest level.

“It’s an approach that has delivered overwhelmingly positive outcomes for tennis.”

Cricket Australia’s ground-breaking 2017 pay deal introduced an equal base rate of pay for male and female elite cricketers for the first time

Cricket Australia’s experience was drawn upon in the development of the Pathway to Pay Equality.

Cricket Australia Chief Executive, Kevin Roberts, stated: “we want our women’s elite teams to help shape the brand of cricket, drive the game’s growth and continue to deliver international success.

“On every measure, they have done this as athletes and ambassadors.

“There is no question they deserve pay parity and we developed a model to achieve this,” Roberts said.

“We are continuing to put in place the systems and support to ensure we can deliver sustainable pay equality.”

In 2018, MCC Sport also completed a detailed review of pay equity in corporate and administrative roles in their organisations, which is summarised in the report.

The review involved a sample of 10-member organisations and was completed based on data provided to the Australian Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).

Using the WGEA methodology, an average overall pay gap of 27% among participating organisations was identified.

This compared to 31.5% or WGEA’s ‘Sports and Physical Recreation Activities’ category and the national average of 21.3% according to WGEA’s 2018 Annual Pay Equity Scorecard.

The MCC Sport Group has committed to reduce the overall gap, and to take immediate action to address any unjustifiable difference in “like-for-like” roles in corporate and administrative roles.

To read the report click here.

The Male Champions of Change Sport members are:

• Mark Anderson – Chief Executive, Collingwood Football Club
• Raelene Castle (Special Advisor) – Chief Executive, Rugby Australia
• Brian Cook – Chief Executive, Geelong Football Club
• Matt Finnis – Chief Executive, St Kilda Football Club
• Marne Fechner (Special Advisor) – Chief Executive, Netball Australia
• Brendon Gale – Chief Executive, Richmond Football Club
• David Gallop – Chief Executive, Football Federation Australia
• Todd Greenberg – Chief Executive, National Rugby League
• Cain Liddle – Chief Executive, Carlton Football Club
• Paul Maley – Acting Chief Executive, Basketball Australia
• Kate Palmer (Special Advisor) – Chief Executive, Australian Sports Commission
• Stephen Pitt – Chief Executive, Golf Australia
• Kevin Roberts – Chief Executive, Cricket Australia
• Ian Robson – Chief Executive, Rowing Australia
• Leigh Russell – (Special Advisor) Chief Executive, Swimming Australia
• Giles Thompson – Chief Executive, Racing Victoria
• Craig Tiley – Chief Executive, Tennis Australia

Shaun Carney

Shaun Carney