Australia's elite sportswomen would be better off playing netball than other major sports according to a global survey from pre-eminent UK sporting website, Sportingintelligence.

The average salary of a Super Netball player in 2017 is a little over $70,000, the second highest salary ranking for professional women's sport in the world. The highest paid sportswomen can be found in the WNBA with an average salary of more than $100,000. 

Notwithstanding these two sports, women's sport faces an enormous pay gap which the editor of the GSSS, Nick Harris, describes as an “abyss”. 

The 2017 Global Sporting Salaries Survey (GSSS) looks at salaries across a number of sports and, for the first, also specifically looks at the gender pay gap. It shows that for every professional female footballer in the world, there are at least 106 men making a full-time living from the game. While it's no surprise to learn of the pay gap, the GSSS notes that women are likely to earn as little as one-hundreth the amount of their male counterparts.

“That kind of abyss is seen even in nations where women’s football is seen as relatively advanced – like England. Average first-team pay in the (men’s) Premier League has risen to £2.64m (AUD$4.6m) this season,” writes Harris.

The equivalent women’s division, the FA Women’s Super League (FAWSL), is £26,752 (AUD$46,745) this season, or about one per cent of that.

The GSSS analysis also looks at other women's sporting leagues including, in Australia, the Big Bash, Women's AFL and the W-League. 

The minimum salary in the W-League for this season is $10,000 for a 23-week contract, with clubs required to spend at least $180,000 in total player contracts. There is a salary cap in place of $300,000 but clubs can spend more by utilising marquee player provisions. Other benefits include income protection of up to $1,500 per week, a maternity policy where airfares and accommodation are provided for children aged 3 years or younger, and medical standards in line with the A-League. 

Harris notes that FFA suggests the average salary in the W-League could be as high as $17,500 for this season but the PFA puts the estimate lower, at around $14,000. Players who are contracted by FFA to play for the Matildas earn an additional $56,000. The top women footballers in Australia, who are also playing in Europe or the USA, earn even more. 

While this is an improvement on previous years, W-League players earn 20% of their counterparts on the netball court taking part in Super Netball.

The chart below shows how the average salary of the W-League stacks-up compared with the average salary of other women's sport in Australia as well as other women's football leagues.

The GSSS covers 465 teams in 29 leagues in nine sports around the world, paying USD$20.6 billion in wages. It looks solely at earnings for playing sport, not for endorsements or other extra-curricular activities. The salaries report features salary information for the most popular professional domestic sports leagues in the world, by average attendance per game, as well as various other leagues from the world's most popular sport, football. For further information on the GSSS, visit Sportingintelligence.

Categories: Analysis | Women

w-league, matildas, gender equity, pay gap, global sporting salaries survey

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