Sydney - The
huge gulf between how much male and female athletes are paid is not
likely to narrow in the foreseeable future, a joint British-Australian
report said on Thursday.
The study by advocacy group Women on Boards found the gender pay gap
was in part due to the growing commercialisation of sport, where media
rights and sponsorships contribute to tournaments and how much players
The report, which follows up on a 2014 analysis, said "the huge pay gap in many sports is not likely to close anytime soon".
"There are a lot of arguments put forward that women's sport is not
as physical and not as good to watch," Women on Boards UK's managing
director Fiona Hathorn added in a statement.
"Yet this is really just an example of bias at play.
"Had our culture been used to seeing women, rather than men, play
football and rugby for generations, we would find the idea of men
playing these games a bit novel - it's all a matter of perspective."
The Gender Balance in Global Sport Report - written before the Rio
Olympics last month - said there was progress in cricket, where the
shorter T20 game has been seen to be "significantly benefitting female
But this was not the case in football, with Hathorn saying the
difference in pay represented a wider problem that stemmed from the
sport's top leaders."The main governing bodies in world football have few women on their
boards. The UK fares little better whilst Australia is making greater
progress and has a professional independent board, with three senior
In terms of women's representation on boards, only tennis recorded a
significant increase in the percentage of female members - but it had
come off a base of zero percent two years ago, added the report, which
sourced data from more than 600 sporting bodies.
The report's release came just days after Australia's new national
netball league secured an improved pay deal for players, with athletes
set to earn twice the previous minimum salary - from A$13 250 to A$27 375.
The landmark agreement also puts pressure on the Australian Football
League, which is launching a female national league next year.
The so-called Aussie Rules sport has been criticised in recent weeks
for the low pay its female stars are set to take home - with the base
salary for most players for this first season at just A$5 000.