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Equal pay commitments set for women’s sport in NSW, lead by female advocates

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Equal pay commitments set for women’s sport in NSW, lead by female advocates

Equal pay commitments set for women’s sport in NSW, lead by female advocates

Groundbreaking changes for equal pay in women’s sports are happening in New South Wales, with two women advocates leading the fight– pro-surfer Lucy Small and sports journalist Kate Allman.

The NSW government has recently announced they’ll make it a requirement for NSW sporting peak bodies to provide a plan for equal prize money and gender equity on their board when applying for government funding next year.

“This is thanks to decades of advocacy from awesome women who haven’t sat down and shut up but instead stood up and said we deserve to be valued as equals,” said Small about the announcement.

Two and a half years ago, Small called out a surfing competition for sexism– the organisers wanted to award the female surfers less than half the amount of prize money than the men.

Wanting to stamp out this kind of inequity for good, Small banded together with sports journalist Kate Allman to further the impact. The pair founded Equal Pay for Equal Play NSW– a campaign focused on ensuring public money is spent fairly on men’s and women’s sport.

Their goal involves making equal prize money, equal opportunity and equal access and support prerequisites for sports organisations and local councils to receive grants or funding. Small says the NSW government’s recent commitment to equal pay “goes a long way towards achieving that”.

Speaking with Women’s Agenda, Small says that while there’s still plenty of work to be done in achieving equal pay for women, she’s excited to see these changes taking place.

“It doesn’t go anywhere near far enough in addressing the broad gender inequality that still happens in the industry, but it does have potential to really drive some cultural change from the bottom up, which is really awesome,” says Small.

Alongside Allman, Small has been lobbying the government and meeting with ministers to progress equal pay at the policy level.

“This is the first really big step and success in that level of campaign that we’ve been doing,” she says.

This year, the money that the government is giving to state sporting organisations is $5 million, and next year that money will double.

Now, in order to get approved for funding with the government’s commitment to equal pay, CEO of NSW Office of Sport Karen Jones says sporting organisations will have to provide a plan for how the money will be allocated equally to men and women.

“And then there are certain milestones in which we will actually check progress against that plan,” said Jones.

“And as I said, it’s actually a year-on-year funding. So there’s at least one checkpoint every year where we will actually go back and go through those plans to make sure that they’re achieving what they set out to do when they committed.”

With this new equal pay commitment set to shift the dial, Small says it’s important to remember the work that women have been putting in for decades to get to this point.

“This is two and a half years of campaigning for me, but it’s also building on the years and years of campaigning and work that so many awesome women have done for decades,” she says. “And so, it’s really cool to have this sort of really positive outcome.”

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