The Australian Football League (AFL) announced on Monday, August 21, that the financial rewards in season eight of the AFLW league will rise from $634,000 to $1.1m, and will be split among the top eight teams, matching the prize money of the AFL.
The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup that finished up on Sunday, August 20, shined the spotlight on women’s sports, and the need for more funding allocated to them. Many believe the equal prize money between the AFL and AFLW is a response to that.
Currently more than 20 Irish Gaelic Football players play in the AFLW. The increased prize money also brings up a question if it would possibly increase the amount of Irish players in the league.
The AFL also, in attempt to begin attacking the inequality present in the sport, recently relaunched the McClelland Trophy which will now include men and women results.
“We have two of the best sporting competitions in the country, on the eve of the 2023 NAB AFLW Season I am pleased to be able to announce equal players' prize money for both our elite AFL and AFLW competitions," said AFL CEO Andrew Dillon, ”A great announcement coupled with the McClelland Trophy and $1 million in prize money to be shared across the champion club’s AFL and AFLW players that was introduced this year.”
Although by equalling the prize money recited by men and women is a step in the right direction, there is still much inequality in the AFL.
On average AFLW players are paid a salary between $26,000 and $46,000 last season. AFL players however were paid an average of $261,000, with 12 players reportedly making seven figures.
ABC reported that the majority of AFLW players have full-time jobs on top of their AFLW careers. The minimum salary increased this year to $39,184 per season but it is still not enough for a living wage without an alternative income.
"Doing another job inhibits your ability to prepare and perform, and when you're burning it from both ends, that's when a heightened risk of injury occurs because you're not as sharp as what you normally are … you stumble, and you create an injury,” Professor Brendan Burkett from the University of the Sunshine Coast School told ABC.