Ene are on the same footing, writes Olivia Caldwell.
incentive of remuneration. However, as the professional era hits international women’s sports such as cricket, rugby and football, could our Kiwi women be left behind if they don’t also adopt their sports full-time?
Two recent examples give two very different answers.
The White Ferns travelled to the UK earlier this year in their bid to win the Women’s Cricket World Cup, they failed miserably when kicked out of the group stage by India, a nation who has been focussing heavily on the women’s game and putting more resources in to it.
England, who became professional in 2014, were the eventual winners.
In contrast, the Black Ferns delivered when they brought home the women’s Rugby World Cup last month, up against a fully professional side, England, in the final.
Robinson believes the Black Ferns’ success was due to the women’s commitment and talent, not the ‘‘limited support’’ they had been given by NZ Rugby. ‘‘The rest of the world has caught up to us in rugby as shown by how England beat us in June [in New Zealand]. They have professional contracts, our fifteens players don’t. The Black Ferns need to have more regular test matches, an international calendar. New Zealand will lose more test matches in the future if we don’t get international test rugby going for teams outside of the Six Nations.’’
She believed it was up to NZ Rugby to step in and do something about the pay gap between the men and women’s game.
‘‘Get a commercial manager in NZR that really cares about women’s rugby to sell it. I think we need to seriously look at setting up professional teams. For instance, why can’t we have women’s Super Rugby sides?’’
Robinson said the Kiwi mentality of boxing above our weight could all come to a crashing end if we don’t enter the professional era of women’s sport. ‘‘I think we over-achieve in a lot of sports as other countries have higher resources than us.’’
IS IT ALLDOWNTO THE MONEY?
After the Black Ferns returned home with the World Cup it didn’t go unnoticed that they were parttime players receiving next to nothing for their efforts.
There was talk of the Black Ferns becoming a paid professional side, however NZ Rugby chief executive Steve Tew quickly poured cold water on that idea.
NZ Rugby said said in 2016 $5.5 million was invested directly into the women’s game, a $2 million increase in funding on 2015.
NZ Rugby said it was unable to provide Stuff with the amount of money invested in the All Blacks or men’s rugby as it was commercially sensitive information, but it is safe to PHOTOSPORT assume it dwarfs what the women get. The Black Ferns are not the only national side to be faced with a question over professionalism.
Hockey NZ, Football NZ, Basketball NZ and Cricket NZ all face decisions on how to distribute money between the men and women’s games.
High Performance New Zealand have a distribution list for sporting codes and for any sporting code to receive funding they must meet the four key criteria; past performance, future potential, quality of the programme and the international context of the sport.
The organisation has 367 athletes supported through their programme with 53 per cent of those male and 47 per cent female.
While there was a reasonably even spread between men and women’s sports, there were discrepancies as the men’s Black Sticks received a $700,000 investment based on the four key criteria, whereas the women did not.
Basketball New Zealand have also regularly applied for funding for the Tall Ferns through HPNZ with no luck, yet the Tall Blacks this year received an added $125,000 from HPNZ. Basketball NZ invests an even $400,000 each towards both national teams.
Hockey New Zealand invested the same amount to both men and women’s Black Sticks, as did Football New Zealand.
However, the Football Ferns received extra funding from HPNZ.
ene beat England in a classic final despite being part-time athletes.