Divert men's funds to boost women's sporting growth, says expert after Black Ferns' World Cup win sparks boom

"It's time to get on with it," says one academic, who knows action needs to be taken if New Zealand is serious about pay parity and equality within sport. 

With the Black Ferns' recent success, and women's sport gaining popularity, many conversations have started about how we make sure our athletes on all levels are treated the same.

But the answer may not be a popular one. 

The Black Ferns celebrate winning the Rugby World Cup.
The Black Ferns celebrate winning the Rugby World Cup. Photo credit: Image - Getty Images

The Black Ferns have sparked a new wave of rugby fans, but despite the crowds, cheering and celebrations there's a fear it will come to nothing.

"Sports administrators go 'oh great well done, that's fantastic, let's have a parade' and all the nice things," University of Otago sport management expert Sally Shaw told Newshub.

"But then we forget about it for another three years." 

The global Women and Sport Conference was held in Auckland this week, where more than 150 international speakers discussed pay parity and investment - including women's sport advocate Arizona Leger.

"The first thing that needs to be done is the opportunity to have some really honest conversations within our sport industries, to really understand and be open to the feedback of what it's going to take to be able to progress women and girls in sport," Ledger said.

It was only on Friday the Black Ferns were told they would receive a $25,000 bonus for their World Cup win, despite the All Blacks expected to pocket around $150,000 each if they do the same thing next year. 

Shaw explained reshuffling our sporting bodies' money could be the answer, including but not limited to diverting funds away from men's organisations.

"What do we need to do to perhaps restructure the men's game," she told Newshub.

"That will help the women's game recover from underinvestment.

"That might not be a popular move. But if we are serious about change, then we have to address some of those systemic organisations' assumptions about where resources go."

And she said it needs to happen now. 

"Just get on with it, basically."

The clock is ticking for changes to be made before our girls are forced to take a back seat yet again.