"It's about equality. It's about equal rights, it's about equal pay."
In America, 40% of sportspeople are women though they get 6%-7% coverage in TV commercials and media. The women-sports stories cover 3.5% in the major newspapers. And leaning to paycheck, male athletes get $179 million more in athletic scholarships each year than females do.
Though with many stumbling blocks, women surpasses all these differences and give the best performances to the world. For instance for British female athletes, from the England women’s cricket team winning the World Cup, to the Lionesses getting to the semi-finals of the UEFA Women’s Euros, and the Red Roses facing New Zealand in the Women’s Rugby World Cup final, 2017 was the year British women took on the world.
Although with outshining success of female sports, some brands remain reticent to embrace the opportunities of women’s sports. The most recent figures date back to a study of the market between 2011-2013, which found female sports account for a mere 0.4% of total sports sponsorship.
Some people have the argument that
“Women’s sport isn’t interesting enough”, though over the years the popularity of women’s sports is growing.
2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France Final match between The United States of America and The Netherlands:
The World Cup soccer final for example, is the most watched soccer match women’s ever in the US with nearly 25.4 million viewers. Yet the players were far less compensated than their male counterparts.
“We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships, and the men get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships,”
Some Facts assuring of gender Inequality in Sports:
- 70% of sports now offer the same amount of prize money for men and women. But in the 30% that don’t, the difference runs into the millions.
- There are 2 million more men than women taking part in sport at least once per week.
- 0.4% of the total commercial investment in sport goes into women’s sport.
- Only half of the governing bodies in sport currently meet the government target to have women making up one quarter of the people sitting around the boardroom table.
- Men’s professional soccer clubs in Europe are the world’s wealthiest sports entities and at least 10 European soccer players earn more than $14 million per year.
- When it comes to women, tennis is by far the most lucrative sport for female athletes.
- Coaches in women’s team sports at college level earn 63 cents for every dollar earned by head Coaches of men’s teams.
As Washington Mystics player Elena Delle Donne said :
We absolutely do not get promoted as our male counterparts do.
U.S. Women’s Soccer Players’ Legal Complaint Against U.S. Soccer:
"Tired of getting paid less than the men's team despite a much higher level of performance, I think that we've proven our worth over the years. Just coming off of a World Cup win, the pay disparity between the men and women is just too large. And we want to continue to fight."Carli Lloyd , the US Soccer top player.
USA's 5-2 win over Japan in the Women’s World Cup final:
When the USWNT (US Women National team) won international soccer's most prestigious event, the World Cup, in 2015, the team earned $2 million in prize money that was given to the national federation to be distributed to the players and the organization. However, the men's team, which lost in the World Cup Round of 16, earned $9 million. The men's team that won the tournament, Germany, earned $35 million.
The women also shattered ratings records for soccer games in America with a record 26.7 million tuning in to watch them beat Japan in the World Cup final. The women have won three straight Olympic gold medals as well as three World Cup titles overall, while the men have never won either.
Though winning the Olympic gold medals as well as three World Cups, the sport’s women are not given the same space as men.
“Five players from the U.S. women's national soccer team have filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, saying that the U.S. Soccer Federation pays the reigning World Cup champions far less than their male counterparts.”
The players say in their complaint,
“It says that despite the women's team generating nearly $20 million more revenue last year than the U.S. men's team, the women are paid almost four times less. Both the women's and men's teams are required to play a minimum of 20 "friendly" games per year, But while the women get a bonus of $1,350 only if they win a friendly, the men are guaranteed $5,000 no matter the outcome and can make up to $17,625 per game depending on their opponent's FIFA ranking”
We continue to be told we should be grateful just to have the opportunity to play professional soccer, and to get paid for doing it, however in this day and age, "It's about equality. It's about equal rights, it's about equal pay."
It affects not only paychecks but also how often they pay, how they train, the medical treatment and coaching they receive, and even how they travel to matches
Root of the problem:
The root of the problem isn’t what women are getting paid for but, it is the lack of foundation that they have to build from to capitalize on their talent.
The issue is just not about equal pay, it is the smaller things that enable a system that hurts women’s advancement in sports and their opportunity to generate equal revenue. And when the marketing isn’t there, critics who say:
“See? They don’t generate enough interest.”
And it's not just about the government's efforts but it also needs support from sponsors. According to a 2018 Statista report, women’s sports receive only 0.4% of total sponsorships.
Early Adopters of Female Players:
A number of brands have gotten in early and supported the women’s sport sponsorship market, from Investec with England women’s hockey, to Kia with England women’s cricket and Vitality in England netball.
Investec with England women’s hockey:
Kia with England women’s cricket:
Vitality in England netball:
O2 spotlights England men's and women's teams in 'Wear the Rose' Six Nations push:
Another prominent supporter of women’s sport is O2, which in 2016 negotiated a new four-year deal with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) spanning men’s and women’s rugby. For head of sponsorship Gareth Griffiths, getting involved with the England women’s team, the Red Roses, was a no-brainer.
The film reached five million people across video-on-demand and YouTube, as well as more than two million people during the final on ITV. Overall, the O2 campaign drove over two million acts of support for the Red Roses.
The truth is, women’s sports will not achieve parity if the barriers that keep them in the trenches remain. We can talk about equal pay all we want, but it doesn’t matter until we start investing equally in how we market and promote these athletes.