Equal Pay in Sports | Teen Ink

Equal Pay in Sports

May 17, 2019
By Anonymous

Women should be paid 6 million more dollars to have equal pay in sports. That is the difference between the pay of women’s soccer and the pay of men’s soccer. This is one of the best examples of how the pay is not equal and how it should be fair between genders. Moreover, harder work should equal more pay, so why is it not that way? Also, not paying athletes of opposite genders equally is gender discrimination. All of these reasons contribute to an overall argument that there should be equal pay in sports.

We get told in life, “Life is not fair.”, well what if we made it fair or even a little bit fair? Equal pay in sports is a step to achieving fairness between genders. We see many examples of women athletes’ pay compared to men athletes’ pay. An example of this is the United States Women’s National soccer team (USWNT)  pay compared to the United States Men’s National soccer team (USMNT) in an article it states, “‘A comparison of the WNT and MNT pay shows that if each team played 20 friendlies in a year and each team won all twenty friendlies," [...] "female WNT players would earn a maximum of $99,000 or $4,950 per game, while similarly situated male MNT players would earn an average of $263,320 or $13,166 per game,””(Wamsley,11). This quote shows the exact amount of money each team gets and how big the pay gap is. Men get paid 2 times as much as the women do. We also see this in other sports like hockey. Women on the U.S. National Women’s ice hockey team are battling equal pay and have even threatened to boycott the 2017 IIHF World Championship. According to this article, “ Per New York Times, the women’s players were barely making living wages and were left out of pre-Olympic marketing plans despite their success on the ice,” (Gowdy, 6). In other words, the U.S. Women’s National ice hockey team is not making enough money due to the lack of equal pay. Both of these teams are not only competing on the field or rink, but they are also competing for fairness.

Athletes are known for setting records, entertaining us, but also earning a lot of money. Even though we think athletes have it all they still are treated unfair and have to stand up for it. Athletes earn a lot of money because they put in the work and success. USWNT won a world cup, an achievement by far, but they couldn’t celebrate all the way because of what they were paid compared to the men. NBC sports states in their article written in 2015, “U.S. Women’s National Team got the historic win over Japan. They were paid $2 million. When the men’s team lost in round sixteen of last year’s tournament, they got $8 million,”(Jaynes, 3). In this quote the pay gap is 6 million dollars. The women’s team was more successful than the men’s team, in the fact that the men’s team in 2018 didn’t even qualify to play in the tournament. This goes to show you that even though a team is more successful they still don’t get paid equally for that success. Mia Hamm, a successful player of the USWNT, wrote about her personal experiences in her autobiography, Go for the goal. She goes into detail about her team winning the 1991 Women’s world cup. In her book she writes, “No one offered us endorsements, money, or fame,” (Hamm, 209). She writes this statement after winning the world cup and it shows that even 30 years ago they still weren’t paid equally for their success.  We also see the teams wanting fairness and standing up for it. USWNT recently filed a lawsuit against U.S. Soccer for gender discrimination. They believe that not being paid equally is gender discrimination and that is why they filed a lawsuit. One of the players on the team, Alex Morgan, speaks to the press about what exactly she is standing up for. In an article Morgan states, ““We believe that fighting for gender equality in sports is a part of that responsibility. As players, we deserved to be paid equally for our work, regardless of our gender,”” (Wamsley, 6). In this Morgan talks about how it shouldn’t matter what gender you are, you should be paid equally for your work. Furthermore, unequal pay doesn’t just impact soccer players, it also impacts other sports and other teams that are fighting for what they think is right.

On the contrary, people believe that they are paid fairly because of the amount of views the teams receive. Women’s teams tend to not be recognized or watched as much as men’s teams do. This creates the unequal pay between the two genders. In an article they exclaim, “percentage of gross revenues is the major determination of players salaries,”(Jaynes, 4). In this they say that the number of sales is what determines the athletes pay. If they don’t sell as many tickets or get as many viewers they get paid less. Although, they might not sell as many tickets there are many examples of women’s teams having more success than the men and the men’s teams still get paid more. Also, most of the sales go to the company, like U.S. soccer, they could control the equal amount of money each player receives and how much they recieve. They could also promote the women’s team more to generate more sales. Therefore, creating a step to equal pay.

The argument of equal pay is seen all over the world and one of the most popular arguments is equal pay in sports. There should be equal pay in sports because of fairness between the two genders. Also, if a team has more success then they deserve better pay. Furthermore, equal pay means gender equality and not gender discrimination. Starting equal pay with athletes could eventually start a trend of equal pay throughout the world and these companies who start paying equally could inspire change throughout the world. We look up to these athletes and praise them like gods, but why aren’t they treated equally? Making these arguments is a small way of paving a road to fix these problems.

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