Former Black Ferns captain is encouraged by the recent announcement that 28 women players will receive semi-professional contracts from the NZRU. Farah Palmer, who is also on the board of NZRU told Kawekōrero that while acknowledging the perks she received while playing for the national team when it came to merchandise and having expenses paid overseas, it was still tough for some.
“For many of our players they did have to take leave without pay, or they had to tap into their annual leave, they had to have bosses and managers who were supportive of them going off and doing this kaupapa,” says Palmer.
She also believes that the move towards gender equality has reached beyond the rugby field.
“There seems to be a wave of things going on, there is the football, we’ve got the rugby league competition in Australia, there is the ‘me too’ movement going on, we’ve got a female Prime Minister, there are all these things going on and it creates a greater focus on gender equality.”
The contracted players will receive a retainer of between $40,000 – $45,000. The Black Ferns have secured back-to-back tests against Australia this year, as well as a test in Denver against the USA, which is expected to be the largest live audience ever for a women’s rugby game. With the positivity comes a word of caution from Palmer.
Talking about the new agreement to contract female players she said, “Yes it’s about time, but it’s also something we have to manage carefully.”