THE University of Ballarat’s Human Movement and Sports Science head Sue Brown said women in sport face much tougher times than men.
“Even women at a national level can’t earn enough money, and that’s where the struggle comes in,” Ms Brown said.
“I don’t think it is really recognised by the sporting community that women are successful at sport.
“Women are supposed to stay home and look after the family and it’s not recognised that they can have a working career and a successful sporting career and often be parents too.”
Ms Brown said the situation facing Ballarat Rush basketballer Andrea McMahon, who has been sacked by Ambulance Victoria for taking unpaid leave to play sport, was disappointing.
“They haven’t recognised that she is a role model in the community. She has a career, she plays sport at an elite level, what more could you ask for in a role model?”
Olympian Rachel Jarry, who played for the then Ballarat Lady Miners in 2010, also spoke out in support of Ms McMahon and said achieving the work-life balance was tough.
“I study because I need to have a career in mind for after basketball,” Ms Jarry said.
“I earn just enough and I still live at home but you’re definitely not set up for life.
“Women in sport don’t earn the same as men so you do have to go out and work but there are other things in life as well.”
Ms Jarry also described Ms McMahon as a “great person”.
“Andrea is passionate about her career as a paramedic, passionate about basketball and passionate about Ballarat.
“She has always worked hard to maintain the balance between her work and her sporting career.
“I hope they can come to some sort of understanding because she doesn’t deserve to be treated like this.
“It (being a paramedic) is one of the toughest jobs going around so to turn around and play basketball at such an elite level says a lot about her.”