Hundreds of girls will watch women get paid to play cricket today.

For so long, sport has been divided.

First there are the men, the ones who push their bodies to the extreme for the elusive shot at “maybe”. The ones who adorn back pages of newspapers every day. Who tweet out their lives to thousands of adoring fans. Who are patted on the back when they walk down the street. Who are championed and idolised as the pinnacle of sporting prowess.

Second, there are the women. The ones who also train every day of the week. Who also hit the gym and plunge themselves into hellish ice baths. Who don’t get recognised in shopping centres or stopped at the servo. Who don’t receive the fat paychecks or play in front of screaming masses. Who make their professional sporting careers bend around another unfortunately necessary fixture of their lives: a 9-5 job.

Women's Big Bash League match between the Perth Scorchers and the Sydney Sixers at WACA on January 28, 2017 in Perth, Australia. Image: Getty

Well, that's how it always was, anyway. Until August of this year.

That's when a gender equity pay model was decided upon by Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricket Association, granting professional female cricketers the biggest pay rise in the history of women's sport in Australia.

That's when female athletes were told - finally - that they matter. Their sports and their passions matter.

It's important, not just for the talented women who will benefit from their sport being taken seriously, but for the people watching them.

Watching the men are the boys. The ones who ask for cricket bats in their Christmas stockings. Who grow up to become passionate tweens. Then teens. The ones who emphatically tell their parents: “That will be me one day.”

Image: Getty

Watching the women are the girls. The ones who have long juggled the dream with the nagging question of "How?". The ones who were once gently nudged away from their sporting aspirations by concerned parents who knew women's sport wasn't a career - it was a hobby. The ones who can now, thankfully, reassure mum and dad: “That will be me one day, and it will be my job."

Today - the first day of the 2017/2018 Women's Big Bash League - is a day to celebrate gender equality in sport. A day to revel in the incredible athleticism of stars like Emma Inglis and Rachel Priest. A day to spend with family and friends.

Today is a day for women and girls.