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Women's AFL: Fans Take #BootsOff For Fair Pay Campaign

Sending a message to the league and CEO Gillon McLachlan.

12/10/2016 2:46 PM AEDT | Updated 12/10/2016 5:33 PM AEDT
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The AFL Women's Exhibition Match between the Western Bulldogs and the Melbourne Demons drew in more than one million viewers in September.

Women's AFL fans are collectively removing their boots to campaign for higher pay for female players, whose low wages don't include players' boots or private health care.

The #BootsOff for fair pay campaign launched on Wednesday to coincide with the AFL women's league draft.

In September it was announced female players will receive a base rate of about $5000 for a 22 week season which does not include players' boots or private health care insurance like professional male AFL players.

The campaign is being led by six Aussies -- five women and one man -- who are so passionate about the women's league, they have taken the issue of fair pay into their own hands (and social media accounts).

One of the six people behind the campaign, Zoe Edwards, told The Huffington Post Australia the campaign aims to maintain pressure on the league and CEO Gillon McLachlan to increase the remuneration for female players.

"The draft shows how women across the country have been working their guts out to get to the top of their game and they deserve to be fairly compensated for that," Edwards said.

"The AFL needs to give them a fair go to allow the new women's league to succeed."

Many Australians, including Greens MP Ellen Sandell, have posted photos of support with their shoes off on Wednesday.

The group is also behind a #FairPayNow petition calling on McLachlan to increase players' pay in an open letter.

In September, McLachlan reminded the public the women's league did not yet have a sponsorship deal or any "commerciality" yet.

"The men's competition is 150 years old. We are starting from a standing start," McLachlan said.

"One league has been going for a long period of time, the other is in its infancy."

In September, the Women's All Star AFL Match was broadcast and became the most watched Saturday night AFL match of the year -- peaking at 1.05 million viewers.

The CEO, whose wage is higher than the entire league's collectively, said "these are massive TV numbers, and beyond our expectations.

"It is thrilling for the AFL and our women players."

And in regards to their remuneration? "Every woman I've spoken to understands the journey we're on."

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