The gender pay gap has been widely publicised and discussed in recent years. Discrepancies between pay for men and women in sports are found in companies across the world. There are inconsistencies in pay in various sectors, but in sports, this topic has hit the headlines.
Why is there a gender pay gap in sports?
The root of this is in Victorian society, which viewed sports and playing sports as a masculine endeavor. It was common for women not to be encouraged to play sports, and admired sportspeople were typically men. This situation, although it is changing, remains to a certain extent that men are more likely to be encouraged to play sports, than women. If fact, believe it or not, it wasn’t until the London 2012 Olympics that every country’s delegation include a female competitor.
Which sports have the largest gender pay gap?
The Women’s World Cup was under the spotlight in 2019. The winning team received the prize money which totalled £3.2 million. Although this was double the prize money of the previous tournament, it was still almost ten times less than the men’s prize money of £29 million. The huge difference between the prize money for the winners of the World Cup is down to the increased revenue from the larger audience that men’s football attracts. However, the men’s and women’s World Cup rights are generally sold as a package. According to a BBC survey, around 83% of 63 sports analysed offered the same prize money for both men and women. But this leaves 17% of sports that still have a gender pay gap, and this gap runs into the millions.
How is the pay gap affecting sports?
A 2017 report found that 88% of players in the Women’s Super League in England earn less than £18,000 a year. To put this into perspective, the average player in the men’s Premier League earns approximately £50,000 a week. Why does this matter? Well, the same report found that 90% of players were considering cutting short their careers in order to find a higher paying job or start a family. This hinders the growth of the sport, and the lack of investment in and support of female players has wide-reaching consequences for the current and next generation of footballers.
You might think that this just happens in football but it occurs in every sport, in basketball. Considering basketball, the maximum salary for a Women’s National Basketball Player (WNBA) player is $111,500 whereas for the National Basketball Association (NBA), the minimum salary is $525,093. Further, the average salary in the NBA is $4,500,000 and the average salary in the WNBA is $72,000.
According to Golf Support, the prize money disparity between male and female athletes is 83% in professional golf. If a male and female golf player both wins a tournament, the male player can earn 6 times more than the female player. The average salary for a golfer in the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) is $973,000 versus $162,000 for a player in the Ladies’ Professional Golfers' Association (LPGA), demonstrating that women in professional golf make 16.6% of what male golfers make annually.
IN BASEBALL OR SOFTBALL:
The pay gap between baseball and softball is very far off from each other. The average salary for an MLB player is 4.47 million dollars a year. The average pay for a professional softball player is 6,000 a year. There have been some steps in the right direction as there has been a player who signed a 1 million dollar contract over six years. This is still only 200,000 a year. There is still room for improvement, but there are strides being made in the world of baseball.
The list could go on the never ending list of the inequality in football and sports in general is increasing at an alarming rate.
What can we do to reduce the pay gap?
Do sports organisations do anything to help pay women better in sports?