Til It’s Done — why we need to borrow the Matildas’ slogan to close the Gender Pay Gap
While not even an epic Sam Kerr goal from outside the box could keep the Matildas’ dream of a World Cup final alive, amidst the disappointment a nation now sits back in awe and appreciation at what this squad of 23 extraordinary women has achieved these past few weeks on home soil.
They have rewritten the history books. Smashed ratings records. Filled live sites. Welcomed hundreds of thousands through the turnstiles. Generated an estimated $7.6 billion for the economy. And got more people talking about, and engaging with, women’s sport than ever before.
In many ways, the Matildas have stopped the nation. Yet still, they don’t have equal pay, equal prize money or equal sponsorship. And not for the first time, women are doing the hard yards and not being rewarded for it.
Reminiscent of the aptly named ‘Matilda Effect’ — a scientific phenomenon whereby the achievements of women scientists are attributed to male colleagues — here’s why the Matildas’ pay inequality is a major problem and why we need to channel a little #TilItsDone energy to close these gender gaps once and for all.
The walk-off that *should* have happened
Imagine for a moment — it’s 0-0 and we’ve ticked into the 69th minute in the Matildas’ tense quarter-final game against France, when all of a sudden all of the Aussie players walk off the pitch.
Caitlin Foord hands her jersey to a young fan before heading to the locker room. Mary Fowler waves a gloved hand to the crowd and jogs off. Hayley Raso tightens her hair ribbons, before taking a deep breath and following the rest of her teammates.
We know it sounds implausible, if not deeply uncharacteristic of what we’ve come to know and love about ‘The Tillies,’ but it’s a reality we *should* be considering because of a not-so-small thing called The Gender Pay Gap.
It’s time to seriously mind the gap
Right now in Australia, the total remuneration Gender Pay Gap still stands at 22.8%. That means, for every $1 on average a man makes, a woman earns 77.2c. Or, if that was applied to a 90-minute game of soccer, then women would only get paid for the first 69 minutes.
So, what if these remarkable athletes stopped playing the moment they got paid their 77.2 cents and walked off after 69 minutes?
It would have robbed us all of witnessing one of sporting history’s greatest moments. There would be no Mackenzie Arnold diving saves, or a match-winning penalty from Cortnee Vine. There would certainly not have been a record-breaking penalty shoot-out, the longest in World Cup history, and perhaps we wouldn’t still be talking about what was the most watched sporting event in the last decade — men or women.
While missing out on a 7-6 victory against France would have been a travesty, the real travesty is the persistence of significant gaps in the financial equality of women+.
What if women+ only did the work we were paid for?
It’s a well-known secret that our economy benefits from the unpaid labour of women+, both in the home and outside of it. And while the reality of pay inequality is about far more than just money, the stark gap in lifetime earnings alone results in Australian women retiring with an average 23% less in superannuation and a significant investment gap. It’s unjust, plain and simple, and it compounds over a lifetime.
Though, of course, even though they aren’t paid equally (yet), the Matildas still took to the field and played to the final minute of each match with a ‘never say die’ attitude they’ve become known for. And since their semi-final defeat to the Lionesses, they’ve used their burgeoning platform to call for better pay and conditions for women in football at all levels of the game.
We absolutely love to see it, but what we don’t love so much is that it’s not just the Matildas who are working hard despite not being paid equally.
The Australian netball team, The Diamonds, made no prize money whatsoever from their recent World Cup win. And we know that women+ everywhere are ending up with less in their pocket each week, some far less than others, compared to their male counterparts.
Role models matter and, if you invest in women, greatness happens
Gender equality pays dividends. Period. Be it in a financial sense or a broader social, cultural and even environmental sense too. And it is this fairer, more equitable and ethical world that Verve has been striving for since 2018.
Of course, a core part of creating this kind of world is visibility, and leading up to their quarter final match, Matildas’ defender Ellie Carpenter shared:
And perhaps this is a key part of the Matildas’ lasting legacy? The power and value of ‘You Can Be What You Can See’ is clearer than ever, and what we’re seeing in the rise of the Matildas is akin to what Patricia Karvelas has called: a “feminist cultural reckoning,” where what once seemed like a farfetched dream is actually achievable.
Is this *the moment* we will look back on as the moment the invisibility cloak of gender was finally removed, ushering in the beginning of the end for the Gender Pay Gap, not only for women in sport but in all areas? We think it might just be.
Inequality robs us all
Just like the Matildas, now is not the time to take the foot off the gas. The momentum is palpable, but it needs to be maintained.
Women kicking goals is becoming the rule, not the exception. Everywhere you look, there is evidence of women’s excellence. We know it. You know it. And now the world knows it too. So, why are we still settling for paying women less? It makes no sense, and even fewer cents.
Inequality robs us all. And with Equal Pay Day just around the corner (August 25), women+ are facing yet another year where we have to work, this time, 56 days past the end of the financial year to make up for the difference in earnings.
Taking a leaf out of the Matildas’ playbook, we need to push forward with courage and ambition to create change on individual, community, and systemic levels. We cannot stop ‘til it’s done, and the hard work of women+ are amplified; the pay, retirement and investing gaps shrinking to zero.
Are you ready to embrace your inner Matilda?
Not just this past month, but for decades, The Matildas’ have been teaching us a lesson in never giving up and maintaining the fight for equal rights and recognition.
To the Tillies of yesterday and today — we are so incredibly proud of everything you have achieved, and will continue to achieve, on the world stage. And we back your calls for equal pay and the recognition you deserve.
Also, if it’s ok with you, we’d like to borrow your catch cry ‘#TilItsDone’ so we can get these gender gaps slammed shut for women+, once and for all.
Want to show up for women+ on Equal Pay Day and beyond?
Learn how Verve is tackling the retirement gap & stay tuned for the Verve Pay Equality Action Toolkit.
Verve is Australia’s ethical wealth building company who believes a fairer, more equitable society can change the world. Comprising both Verve Super and Verve Money, the 25,000 strong community has helped invest over $270 million in a better future for all.
Find out more at www.vervesuper.com.au or www.vervemoney.com.au and follow the news at @verve.super or @verve.money
This blog is published by Verve Superannuation Pty Ltd (ABN 65 628 675 169, AFS Representative No. 001268903), which is a Corporate Authorised Representative of True Oak Investments Ltd (ABN 81 002 558 956, AFSL 238184). Verve Superannuation Pty Ltd and True Oak Investments Ltd are not licensed to provide personal financial advice.. The financial information contained in this post is general and doesn’t take into account your personal financial objectives, situation or needs. It’s important to do your own research and consider getting in touch with a professional adviser to access specific information tailored to your own unique situation.