In case you missed it, there was some big news for women in sport this week: The WNBL announced it was increasing the minimum player payment to $13,000, from $7,000, for the next two seasons. They made the announcement on the back of a record-breaking grand final series (those are this season's champs, the UC Capitals, above.)
In percentage terms, it’s an increase of 73 per cent. (Imagine having your boss call you in for that kind of pay rise? We can’t even!)
And while it may not be a lot of money in real-life terms (according to a Australian Basketballers’ Associations spokesperson, the $13,000 minimum payment covers a total of 23 weeks of pre-season training commitments and the WNBL season – equating to $565.22 per week), it’s a step in the right direction.
“Our lower end players, in the past, would’ve played for nothing,” Dandenong Jayco Rangers player Rachel Jarry tells WH. “It’s only the last couple of years that we’ve had a minimum wage.”
“Our lower end players, in the past, would’ve played for nothing."
“Just being able to reward the girls who have had to work full-time and play [basketball] – now we can move towards a more professional league, because we’re able to reward players financially, at least something. It’s a step forward for us. We’ve still got a long way to go but it’s a great step.
"We’re working towards being a fully professional league. And $13,000 – while it’s amazing and it’s a great step forward for us – it’s not going to allow players to play that as their full-time job for the whole year."
When it comes to progress, it’s been a good few years for our women’s basketballers, with the Australian Basketballers’ Association working closely with the WNBL for some big wins. Besides the minimum player payment, a historic parental and pregnancy care policy was established last October.
Not only that, but “The Opals [the women’s national team] are remunerated the same as the Boomers [the men’s national team] now,” Rachel, who is also the Players’ Association WNBL President, adds.
How’s that for equality?
“I think Basketball Australia is moving to make those strides but we always need to keep pushing. We see great things from netball, AFLW and the W-League, and they make our league want to be better. They make Basketball Australia push harder.”
“The more we see women’s sport in all areas improving, it’s only going to benefit us as well.”