• Matildas representative Tameka Butt during the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 (Getty Images)
Why Matildas player Tameka Butt believes women can play for Australia in big stadiums, in front of packed crowds more often; and how her taxpaying money can be better spent as part of the $1.6 billion stadium upgrade.
By
Tameka Butt

Source:
Zela
17 Apr 2016 - 1:59 PM  UPDATED 17 Apr 2016 - 2:04 PM

Women's sport isn't found under a rock anymore and nor should you have to look under one to find what you're looking for.

Women's sport is growing and fast.

Not just in participation rates but in viewership and as a genuine entertainment choice. I have witnessed firsthand, growing interest in women's football and the outwardly expressed support of the Australian public for the Matildas' success. Statistics on every level have been rising and so too the choice to consume sport via TV broadcasts and live streaming.

From a female elite athlete's perspective, you grow up dreaming of playing in stadiums like ANZ or Allianz. Not for the pure size but for the amazing atmosphere they provide and the quality of the facilities. I can be honest in saying that as an Australian female footballer I've only played in a fully packed stadium of such a standard 3 or 4 times in my life, the 2011 and 2015 FIFA Women's World Cups and a suspense filled A-league and W-league double header. 

If asked how it felt to play in stadiums of such reputations, I would not hold back in saying the feeling is surreal, amazing, adrenaline pumping and even overwhelming and this would be anyone's response if you're used to driving a Honda Civic and get the opportunity to drive an Aston Martin. It is a huge advantage to have the extra dimension that quality facilities provide to players and spectators and to the success of the sport. The difference is incredible and unfortunately for women such opportunities come far too infrequently compared to what's provided for men. 

Why not use the $1.6 billion upgrade budget to bridge the quality and accessibility gap between the sporting facilities available for women and those for men? I know that's what I'd vote for given my right as a taxpayer. A budget like that would generously cover the development of more appropriately sized sporting facilities for women that are compatible for TV broadcasting and live streaming. 

Do men really need more, more and more; while women are left with substandard sporting facilities? As a parent do you want equal opportunity for your daughter as you would your son? Where are the women's voices, the daughters, sisters, wives and mothers, we are athletes too and are in no shortage of consumer power.

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The war of words over the distribution of 1.6 billion dollars of taxpayer funds to three major Sydney stadiums has dominated headlines this week. But the needs and considerations of one party have been very much left on the bench.