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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Controversy brewing over Men's Burnie Gift prizemoney being more than 3 times Women's Gift

Controversy brewing over Men's Burnie Gift prizemoney being more than 3 times Women's Gift

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Burnie Gift prize money for male race winner more than triple that for female winner

By Sallese Gibson
ABC News
3rd January 2016

Photo: Morgan Gaffney won $2,300 compared to the men's winner, who took away $9,000. (Supplied: Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania)

Organisers of a major Tasmanian running race have admitted the discrepancy between the prize money on offer for male and female winners of the event is "not a good look".

This year's winner in the male category of the Burnie Gift, Jorden Englund, took home $9000 — more than three times as much as the winner in the female race, three-time champion Morgan Gaffney, who received $2,300.

The Gift — an annual New Year's Day event which has been run almost continuously in Burnie since 1887 — is run over a distance of 120 metres, for both genders.

Sports Carnival Association of Tasmania (SCAT) president Mike Gunston said the association was "working towards" equal prize money.

"We do want to change that, it's not a good look but we're working towards it," he said.

"[Women] work just as hard, train just as hard and I'd like to think … that within a couple of years that there won't be any discrepancy at all."

"It is an issue that we've got to work with hard, with sponsors and hopefully we can get to that point."

Prize money for the event's major races comes from corporate sponsors, who choose which event to support and how much money to put up.

Club working to convince sponsors
Burnie Athletic Club secretary Allan Johnson said clubs were working to "convince our sponsors" female races were of "equal spectacle to men".

"There's no hesitation on the part of the club in wanting to get to that gender equality," he said.

"A women's event that is a equal spectacle to men will always attract equal prize money and we've got to convince our sponsors of that."

Ms Gaffney has been approached for comment.

Dana Faletic from Womensport and Recreation Tasmania said it was time for a change.

"It's great to see local businesses sponsoring local events that attract such high standard competitors however, as recognised by SCAT, it's not a good look for men to be receiving more prize money than women," she said.

"Womensport and Recreation Tasmania suggests that other carnivals and other sponsorship models may be worth looking at to deliver equity in prize money and also retain mutual benefits for the organisers and sponsors.

"I'm sure competitors and the public would welcome equal prize money."

Prize totals reliant on sponsors, SCAT says
Mr Gunston agreed clubs had little control over the prize money on offer.

"In the end the total prize money is very much dependant on the sponsor who is willing to put up the money for that event," he said.

"Clubs are also in a pretty difficult situation in that they don't have a lot of surplus cash.

"At times they can top up events to a certain extent but they don't have a huge amount of money to put into prize money.

"From a SCAT point of view and a club's point of view, it's not where they want to be or we want to be."

The Burnie Carnival celebrated its 130th year on Sunday, but women have only been competing for the past 25 years.

Mr Johnson said while the number of women competing in athletics was increasing, there was still room for improvement.

"There's a lot less women competitors," he said.

"Our belief as a club is that if we can lift the prize money for the women, that might give them more encouragement to get started."

"We've gradually been lifting the prize money for the major women's events."

The male and female winners of the Stawell Gift in Victoria have received equal prize money since 2015 when a multinational corporate sponsor put up $40,000 for the women's race.

Mr Gunston said that was a good sign.

"In some areas, the gap is closing and closing quickly," he said.

"I suspect that will continue as long as the two major sponsors in both those events are there.

Most comments on the 936 ABC's Facebook page supported change.

"Whilst on the surface this appears to be an equality issue, it is one of pure economics. Sponsors will provide the prize money that offers value for their advertising dollar," wrote Mark Dabner.

"It's definitely unfair in this day and age," said Emily Southam.

"Of course it should be equal! Equal pay for equal work," posted Libby Chick.


Ok I am going to stick my neck out here and I am probably going to get it knocked off but the big white elephant in the room needs to be addressed here.

The Open Gift as it is referred to is open to all Athletes, were as the Women's Gift is Open to just Women. Why should it not be worth more ?

The argument is an equality issue but if true equality is to prevail and that is the intention then increase the limit in the Open Gifts to allow Women the opportunity. That is true equality, by having 2 races does this not become segregation and non inclusive therefore not breaking down the barriers at all ?

There is this big push to get Women's races prizemoney increased in line with Open races and yet the distance runners who have been part of this sport for over 100 years get left behind and some will say this is due to numbers & support by distance runners but if this is the case then the Vets 300 which probably provides more participation than any other race also gets left behind so that argument doesn't hold.

This is probably a little controversial and I am not out to offend anyone but as an organisation are we actually heading down the right path with this ?


If the open and women's prizemoney is the same then there is no way the women should be able to run in the men's (open) gift. They should just be called the men's gift and women's gift and each run against their own gender.


SANCHEZ wrote:If the open and women's prizemoney is the same then there is no way the women should be able to run in the men's (open) gift. They should just be called the men's gift and women's gift and each run against their own gender.

Basketball that's what I call the true meaning behind equality. For those of us in attendance at Burnie, the women's field was not worthy of a 9K gift IMO


If the money is not there for the women it's a no brainer for the good runners to be heading over to the Bay Sheffield instead Frontie


Is the men's gift worthy of $9000 first place when there are only about 50 starters compared to about 130 starters in 1987?

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