New Zealand Football takes a major leap towards gender equality in sports by announcing equal pay for all their female and male professional footballers representing the country internationally. This promises equal pay, promotional pref and best of all – flying business class for all international games.
New Zealand’s claim to fame, along with its gorgeous landscapes and The Lord of the Rings, will now include gender equality pay for New Zealand Football players across the board.
The New Zealand Professional Footballers’ Association (NZPFA) and the New Zealand Football have now agreed to ensure that footballers representing the country internationally will be paid equally.
Following in the footsteps of their rugby counterparts, Women will receive equal prize money and equal rights in promotional materials. Most notably, they will now travel the same way the male athletes do – Business and first-class.
Female players will now fly business class on flights lasting 6 hours or more. This is going to impact performance significantly as flying business class to a friendly match in, say, Singapore will ensure that players aren’t knackered from the travel and will be in great shape.
“The Football Ferns (the national team’s name), ranked inside the top 20 in the world, are the flagship of women’s football in New Zealand. They are role models for more than 30,000 female players across our country.”
– Andy Martin, New Zealand Football’s chief executive
Norway became the first country to greenlight equal pay to women and men when representing the country internationally. But there’s still a long way to go before pay parity regardless of gender can be seen in more countries, clubs and even other sports.
English football seems to have the right idea here as the England Football Association pledged to improve the gender pay parity among club staff. Meanwhile, English club Lewes FC became the first professional team of any kind to implement equal pay last year.
While all this is reassuring, fast changes are needed to keep the momentum up for a wind of change. Some of the top footballers on the planet make more money in a month from their playing contracts for their respective clubs than their female counterparts do in a year. Yes, men’s leagues are well established, posses big television deals, and attract larger crowds. But if the women aren’t encouraged to take up the sport for a living, the ratio will more or less stay the same.
For every professional women’s footballer making a living by playing the sport full-time, at least 105 men are doing the same.