Football Federation Australia takes out the 2015 Gold Ernie for Matildas pay gap


Jenny Noyes

The Matildas had to cancel their US tour due to a pay dispute with the FFA.

The Matildas had to cancel their US tour due to a pay dispute with the FFA.

The results are in for the 2015 Ernie Awards, crowning Australia's worst offenders when it comes to sexism.

And this year, for once, the big 'winner' wasn't an individual or organisation who made an awful sexist or misogynistic comment. It was an organisation that has practised blatant sexism with its treatment of women through industrial relations.

The FFA has taken out the Gold Ernie over the gross pay gap between male and female soccer players that sees the Matildas paid below minimum wage - just $21,000 per year. And no maternity leave. In contrast, the Socceroos receive a $6,000 base payment for every international game, while the women get just $500. 


Earlier this month, the Matildas were forced to pull out of their US tour because the FFA refused to increase their pay to a living wage and include maternity leave. The pay dispute is still unresolved.

The Ernie for politics went to Tony Abbott who, when asked to nominate his greatest achievement as Minister for Women replied "repealing the carbon tax."

The Ernie for media went to The Australian for beginning its obituary for Colleen McCullough: "Plain of feature and certainly over-weight..."

The industrial Ernie went to Soho Nightclub for running this ad a week after the owner's son, Luke Lazarus, was sentenced for rape. 

'The Elaine' - the Ernie for the unhelpful remarks to the sisterhood - went to Miranda Devine for saying  "Feminism is now well past its use-by date. It has just become an excuse for unhinged individuals with Daddy issues to indulge a mean streak." 

The judicial Ernie went to Detective Inspector Michael Hughes who, speaking after the brutal daylight murder of Masa Vuketic, said women needed to take precautions not to be randomly attacked - including not walking in a public park by themselves.

The Good Ernie came out of the same incident, when Luke Ablett said "Another woman killed by a man and we are talking about why women shouldn't walk in parks. What is wrong Australia?"

There were two dead heats for which the boo-off couldn't determine a louder winner. 

Fred Nile tied with School Principal Omar Hallak for the clerical Ernie. Nile was awarded for describing childcare centres as "daytime orphanages," while Hallak reportedly banned female students from participating in running events because it may cause them to lose their virginity.

The other dead heat was for the Repeat Offender Ernie, which went to Tony Abbott and former Australian Financial Review columnist Mark Latham.