How equal pay for women in sport went mainstream

How equal pay for women in sport went mainstream

equal pay for women in sport
The moment the US team secured their fourth World Cup title will be remembered in years to come for the crowd’s response as much as the team’s proficiency on the pitch.

As the siren signalled the end of the FIFA World Cup final 59,000 spectators leapt to their feet and began chanting: EQUAL PAY! EQUAL PAY! EQUAL PAY!

It is mesmerising, powerful and goose-bump inducing footage to behold.

It is hard to imagine, even a few years back, this response being elicited enmasse at a major sporting fixture. Yet the remarkable reality, in this moment in history, is that it’s impossible to consider that not being the response.

The US women’s soccer side has been fighting in earnest for equal pay since March when 28 players filed a gender discrimination lawsuit  against their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation.

As one meme aptly puts it, they doesn’t merely want or deserve equal pay for equal play – they deserve equal pay for superior play.  And nearly every broadsheet in America is editorialising the same.

In the New York Times:

“For American soccer fans, the juxtaposition was hard to ignore: the United States women’s team winning a record fourth World Cup championship in France, its men’s counterpart falling to its bitter rival Mexico hours later in a regional championship in Chicago.

The two results Sunday were not a mere collision of games: they also highlighted a contentious battle about pay equality featuring the men’s teams and women’s teams, the different media and financial ecosystems in which they compete, and the often unequal rewards for success for male and female athletes.”

Some rely on comparisons as a justification for the ongoing discrepancy between the earnings of men and women in sport.

But as the Washington Post pointed out there are a few comparisons where it’s clear women are being undersold. Big time.

“On Monday Nike reported the U.S. women’s team home jersey has become the No. 1 soccer jersey — male or female — ever sold on the company’s website in one season. According to the Wall Street Journal, the national women’s team’s games have generated more revenue than the men’s since their World Cup victory in 2015. This year, U.S. viewers watched the women’s team victory in record numbers. “

They deserve equal pay – and then some. The momentum around the battle for equal pay in sport isn’t just limited to soccer nor America.

Here, The Age has reported that Cricket Australia is working to ensure female cricketers will receive the same prizemoney as their male peers at the Twenty20 World Cup tournaments  next year.

Both will be held as stand-alone tournaments in Australia and if there is a discrepancy between the prizemoney available for the men and women’s sides, it’s believed CA will rectify it.

It comes as the Southern Stars, Australia’s women’s cricket side, are demolishing England in The Ashes right now.

Ellyse Perry recorded the best ever One Day figures for an Australian woman with taking 7 wickets for 22.

There is no doubt about the popularity, success and skill of female athletes around the globe, right now, across sporting codes. AFL, cricket, rugby, soccer, tennis: take your pick.

These remarkable athletes deserve to be paid as richly as their male peers.

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