Call to respect Aussie female sports stars

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Cate Campbell of Australia poses with her medal after winning the women's 50m freestyle final, during the Pan Pacific swimming championships in Tokyo, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Australia's world-class female athletes still aren't fully reaping what they sow as global superstars, the nation's peak advocacy body for women's sport says.

Women Sport Australia issued a reminder prior to Wednesday's annual awards night that its fight for a fair share was just beginning as they crowned Swim queen Cate Campbell Sportswoman of the Year.

With the Campbell sisters, surfer Sally Fitzgibbons and ex-track cyclist Anna Meares in the building, WSA president Carol Fox renewed calls for a more concerted effort to elevate the current crop of female stars into the spotlight.

"Women's sport in Australia has never been stronger," Fox said in a statement.

"It's high time our female champions were recognised not just with red carpet award nights, but with a fair living wage, equal conditions on and off the field and equal media time and space."

Fox said the responsibility rested with governments, sports organisations and local clubs to "provide adequate facilities and sustainable career paths for women in sport from the grassroots to the elite".

The message struck a serious note in a night otherwise dedicated to celebrating the achievements of Australia's female champions and just how far women's sport has come.

Campbell was honoured with the top gong, beating out former winners Stephanie Gilmore (2011) and Sam Kerr (2017), after a vanquishing her Rio Olympics demons at this year's Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacs.

Other major award winners included tennis great Evonne Goolagong Cawley (Hall of Fame), cricketer Ellyse Perry (Moment of the Year), Matildas star Kerr (Leadership Legend) and boxer Skye Nicolson (Outstanding Woman in Sport).

© AAP 2018