Throughout this time there were differing opinions from the entire playing cohort. Some wanted to get on with things and start their pre-season, others feared the season would be delayed or not start at all and a large proportion wanted to get a fairer deal, not just based on money, but a clearer vision of the future of the AFLW, including the length of the season.
It was a stressful and frustrating time for the players, and the uncertainty played on everyone’s minds. Of course, like most, I wanted to get pre-season started. Being such a competitive player, I want to work on my craft to get better, but I also wanted us to take a stand and get the best result we possibly could.
Coming from a cricket background I had seen my fair share of CBA negotiations and although cricket has a joint CBA among the women and men, the players always took a united approach in getting the desired outcome.
For AFLW players it was a mixed bag and it made me question whether we should be accepting the offer or fight for more.
Grateful or lucky are words that get thrown around by many female athletes. “I’m just grateful to be playing the game” or “I’m lucky I get paid to play.” And while we are all thrilled to be playing, gratitude alone doesn’t pay our bills.
We deserve this opportunity; the pioneers have worked tirelessly for us to have this opportunity. Now that we have it, we need to be the ones driving social change and along with other women in other professions, having the confidence to ask for better pay and work conditions.
We deserve this opportunity; the pioneers have worked tirelessly for us to have this opportunity.
Australia has a history of recognising women. The Australian Open was the first grand slam to provide equal pay to men and women players. Initially it created debate about whether equal prizemoney for women was justified, but now this equal-pay approach is the norm in the tennis world.
Looking back on my cricket career I have seen first-hand the impact Cricket Australia’s decision to increase pay and provide full-time opportunities to its female players has had on both growing the game and increasing the skill levels of the athletes.
It’s time to push the boundaries. Pushing for change and asking for more is uncomfortable but without this nothing will change. AFLW players must keep the momentum going, not because we are grateful but because we need to make a change for a more equitable society.