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Equal Play Equal Pay

The debate surrounding equal pay and prize money for men and women is coming to a head, writes John Goliath.

Women are starting to win the fight for equal pay. In September 2018, the World Surf League (WSL) announced equal prize money for male and female surfers at every WSL event from 2019. Men and women also earn the same money at all of the Majors (golf), although there is still a fight for equality at regular ATP and WTA (tennis) tour events.

In fact, in 2017 the Telegraph in England reported that 83 per cent of sports now give men and women equal prize money, although football remains the largest pay gap. But not in South Africa.

A win for women’s football

The South African Football Association (SAFA) in March announced that Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana would earn the same amount of money during their respective forays at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt and Women’s World Cup.

“I’m not sure if it’s a world first, but we are certainly among the first to do this,” said SAFA chief executive Russell Paul.

“We have always been committed to equity and have been working towards this for quite a while. We are pleased that we have been able to finally get over that hurdle at this important stage of the development of the game in our country.”

Sasol has been a long-time supporter of women’s football in South Africa, but Paul says more companies need to get involved to help grow the women’s game in South Africa.

While the SA ladies are winning the battles on and off the football field, their netball counterparts are also making great strides to earn more money and gain sponsorship, especially after Cape Town won the rights to host the 2023 Netball World Cup.

Netball becomes more competitive 

But first South Africa’s netball team will compete at the 2019 edition in Liverpool, England in July.

Spar has been a long-time supporter of the sport in the country, while Netball South Africa also launched the Telkom Netball League not too long ago in an attempt to make the national team more competitive.

Netball remains South Africa’s biggest sport in terms of female participation, and big tournaments such as the World Cup will certainly boost its profile.“The sport has grown over the years, and the recently established Telkom League has created a lot of interest from across the board,” says Nnusi Gazi, Netball SA communications and media manager.

“There is a big spike in the sport itself. If you look at the media coverage we are getting with the announcement of the World Cup and the Telkom League, there is substantial interest. We are also attracting a new breed of supporters, and we are enjoying support from SuperSport, which is broadcasting the tournament. The public broadcaster has also stepped up and assisted us with coverage.”

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