MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia’s professional women soccer players will be given the same base pay as men in a one-year extension to a collective bargaining agreement.
Players in Australia’s W-League will have their annual minimum remuneration hiked 33 percent to A$16,344 ($11,400), with their base hourly rate matching the men’s A-League, Football Federation Australia and the players union said on Friday.
“We’re very proud that we have been able to anchor the minimum conditions for W-League players to those of A-League players,” Professional Footballers Australia CEO John Didulica said in a statement.
“It’s a moment in time that the players should be proud of.”
The deal will reduce the gender pay gap in Australian football but male players stand to earn significantly more due to their greater time on the pitch.
The W-League’s regular season ran for 14 weeks in 2018/19, just over half the length of the A-League’s 27 rounds.
The announcement comes days after the PFA launched a campaign demanding global governing body FIFA increase prize money at the upcoming women’s World Cup to reduce the glaring gap with the men’s tournament.
Gender pay disparity in football was put in the spotlight in March when the U.S. women’s team sued their national federation for alleged gender discrimination three months before their World Cup title defense.
Australia has become a global leader in championing better pay and conditions for female athletes in recent years, after having largely neglected women’s sport for decades.
Australia’s contracted women cricketers were given the same base hourly pay rate as men in a five-year collective bargaining agreement struck in 2017, although, like women footballers, they have far fewer opportunities to earn.
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly