A mannequin with a yellow netball dress and a mannequin with a white tennis outfit
Left to right: Netball Dress Worn by Liz Ellis at the Netball World Championships, Jamaica 2003; White Fila Tennis Outfit, Designed for and Worn by Ash Barty during the Wimbledon Tournament 2021

The professionalisation of elite women’s sport, while occurring later than for men, has gathered momentum in recent decades.

Golf and tennis tournaments saw an increase in prize money for women in the 1970s, though it was still modest in comparison with the men’s prizes. Women’s basketball established a national league in Australia in the 1980s, putting it on a path towards becoming fully professional.

More recently, professional women’s national leagues have been established in soccer (2008), cricket (2015), netball (2016), Australian rules football (2017) and rugby league (2018). These sports have also negotiated broadcast and sponsorship agreements that brought more money into their codes. While the pay gap has not fully closed, elite women’s sport has been transformed.