NADENE Barretto wants her daughters to have the same opportunities as every rugby man boy growing up.
It was the reason Barretto, through her company Eight Recruitment, offered to sponsor the premier women's division of Mick "Whale" Curry Memorial Sevens tournament to ensure it had the same prize money as the men.
Both premier divisions will have $5000 for first place in the fifth annual event which is being held in St John Oval on February 14-15. Kiama sevens are the only other tournament to have parity in prize money.
"As a business owner, I understand how important corporate support is for all sport. It's almost 2020 and to have a competition where there are differences in prize money based on gender, it just not okay. This is the right time for us to be enabling parity for women in sport. Women should be able to make a professional career out of rugby and with two young daughters who are heavily in the sport, this is something that I am very passionate about.
"I am really thrilled that my daughters hope to play professionally. There is a role for business to help sport provide better pathways into professional sport and we are thrilled to be part of the competition."
As well as the premier men's and women's, there is a country division, under-20s men and under-17s girls.
Hamilton coach Scott Coleman said the increased purse will attract the best women players.
"Normally the prize money is determined by the number of teams entered," Coleman said. "There are 32 mens teams and only 10 women. It is awesome that Eight Recruitment have come on board and we can offer the same prize money for both. The women's premier final will be played before the men and has already attracted eight entries."
Barretto's husband, Steve, played professionally in Ireland and England before they moved to Australia.
"Rugby gave our family a kick start. Steve continues to be involved at club level playing and now coaching while our children each play within local competitions. Rugby is such an important part of our lives but we also recognise that it is also such a great facilitator of community spirit," Barretto said.