Sevens pay parity Australia's first priority

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Outgoing Rugby Australia CEO Bill Pulver says Sevens pay parity would be the first priority when it came to paying its female athletes, after the announcement of the new Super W competition.

Super W competition will be an amateur competition, with the national XVs women’s side, the Wallaroos, remaining amateur.

Rugby Australia is currently working with the Rugby Union Players’ Association on a new collective bargaining agreement, with at least a preliminary terms sheet expected to be signed off by the December 31 deadline.

Pulver said bringing parity to the Sevens program was a focus of the process.

“In terms of pay equality in women’s sport, priority number one is around the professional programs,” he said.

“We’re actually in negotiations with RUPA (at the moment) and the objective there is to, on the men’s and women’s Sevens side, is to try and make sure we have gender equality from a pay perspective.

“That’s a work in progress and we’d love to think early in the new year we can communicate an outcome from there.

Pulver said the aim was to eventually professionalise both forms of the game.

"The women’s XVs game is still an amateur game, so the girls who participate in this (Super W) at this stage won’t be paid," he said.

"We’re really sensitive about a number of conditions you can put in place to really try and optimize the number of women who can participate in the competition.

“We have to get our priorities right and three years ago the initial investment opportunity with the impending olympics. We always wanted to get to XVs really represents the fact that players come in all shapes and sizes.

"It just had to come after the sevens. 

Wallaroos prop Emily Robinson said the new Super W competition felt like an early Christmas present for women’s rugby players.

“It's that Christmas Eve gift, you know you get to open one the night before? We never did that but some families do. This is awesome.

“It really is the icing on the top, so it's been a massive year for women's rugby in general, so I guess another trophy to add to the cabinet would be lovely.”

The Super W competition will kick off in March 2018.