More Work, Less Pay

More Work, Less Pay

Women’s sports have a long history of not making as much as men’s, with male athletes in basketball, golf, soccer, baseball, and tennis making from 15% to 100% more than female athletes. This gap can take females more than 10 years to make up the amount of money. The level of pay in each sport varies, but one thing stays the same; females consistently make less than men. 

People may wonder why this huge pay gap is seen when “equal pay, equal work” has been a law since 1963. Many would answer this question by saying it is not an issue of misogyny, but instead an issue of the economy. 

Men’s sports generate more revenue, therefore the athletes make more money. While this is true, people should consider why this is the case. Are men’s sports higher quality than women’s? Do they require more skill? What is the true reason behind the wage gap in sports, and should something be done about it?

In truth, men’s sports do not make more money than women because they are better athletes, or the game is more interesting and contrary to what some believe the pay gap is not solely an economic issue. It is a revenue and a gender issue, but the reason there is a revenue issue is because of the gender issue. Men’s sports are generating more money than women’s sports because consumer proclivity is stemmed from sexism. 

If we establish equal pay in sports, it will make a statement in society that women are, literally, as valuable as men. It will also help stop the cycle of inequality in the sports industry. 

Female sports deserve the attention they have been lacking. There are many steps that the sports industry can take to establish equal pay in sports. 

One is to market female sports better. The lack of broadcasting of women’s sports on national channels like ESPN, ESPN 2, CBS, and Fox has led to audiences believing that women’s sports are not as entertaining. 

An article by Jaclyn Diaz on the NCAA’s focus on profit in men’s sports stated, “The law firm found the NCAA spent $4,285 for men’s Division I and national championship participants, excluding basketball. For female participants, the NCAA spent about $1,700 less that same 2018-19 season.” It is also true that men’s sports receive 96.3% of televised airtime, while female sports receive 1.6% of airtime. 

It is no mystery why men’s sports are generating more money, when they are being advertised more, and having more money spent on them.. Female sports will get more recognition if they are simply marketed better by the NCAA, and given more screen time.

An obvious situation in which sexism comes into play, in the sports industry is the U.S. women’s soccer team being paid less than the men’s when they generate more money. The U.S. women’s soccer games have generated more revenue than men’s over the past three years. 

In an article about this by Abigail Johnson Hess it is stated, “In 2016, women’s games generated $1.9 million more in revenue than men’s games. From 2016 to 2018, women’s games generated approximately $50.8 million in revenue, compared with $49.9 million for men’s games.” Despite the women’s games making more money, they only made $4,950 per game. To compare, the men made $13,166 per game. 

The women’s team is working just as hard, generating more revenue, and still coming up short on payment. 

The women are fighting back though; they have filed a lawsuit against the USSF. Their proposal would tie player compensation to revenue generated by the women’s national team. This proposal has the support of the men’s national team and should receive the support of all of America if people want to fight for equality in sports.  

The issue of gender inequality in sports is not going away anytime soon, but the issue deserves more recognition, and there are ways to close the large gap. The WNTPA’s lawsuit is just a spark for a movement to fight for equal pay. 

The revenue gap is an issue of economics but is ultimately an issue of women’s rights. People have been fighting for these rights for years, and it is not over yet. The fight must continue until women in sports earn the respect they deserve!