Women should be equally paid and treated in sports

Opinion

As of 2021, women earn about 80 cents to every dollar a man makes. Though this amount has increased compared to the 1980s (when women earned 60% of a man’s earnings), the rate at which the gap is decreasing has halted in recent years. This raises the question: Why is there such a large difference between women’s and men’s salaries?
Gender discrimination is a prevalent problem in modern society, with 68% of women claiming that they are regularly discriminated against for their gender. 41% of women feel as if they are paid unfairly at their jobs. These significant pay gaps are seen primarily in jobs with manual labor and leadership positions. It is believed that these women are more commonly discriminated against because their employers assume that they will not be as skilled compared to their male co-workers, simply based on stereotypes.
Not only do women deal with discrimination in the workplace; they also deal with discrimination in sports. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team is one of the most successful teams in history, currently possessing four World Cup titles. However, they earn only 89% of what the men’s team earns, which is surprising because not only is the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team extremely successful and talented, but they are better than the men’s team. The women’s team is currently ranked number one by FIFA, while the men’s team is ranked 13th. The women’s team has played in the World Cup eight times in the last 30 years, while the men’s team has played only 10 times in the last 91 years.
Female players are unable to depend on soccer financially, which Jessica McDonald noted in her interview with NPR. “A lot of us are female athletes, we work multiple jobs, and that’s been kind of [accepted] in our society,” she said. “But once you see it, I feel like it’s so much more eye-opening; I’m showing people I barely had a meal in a day because I’m going from literally [team] training to giving a public speech to going to train kids to another appearance — and this is all in one day.”
The U.S. Women’s National Ice Hockey Team is also heavily discriminated against in multiple ways. The women only make 10% of what the men earn, despite both teams having comparable achievements. Both the men’s and women’s team have earned two gold medals in the Olympics, yet one is paid drastically less than the other.
Equal pay is not the only way that the women’s team is discriminated against. In the USA Hockey Player Handbook, men are afforded privileges the women players are not. Men are given a hotel room to themselves and can bring guests to their games for free. On the other hand, the women are not allowed to bring guests and have to share a room with another player.
Men also have their disability insurance paid in full by USA Hockey, while the women do not. The number of advantages the men are provided far surpasses the amount the women are afforded; USA Hockey’s excuse for this is that it would financially harm the association.
The most atrocious pay gap I found in sports was in basketball, with women making 1.5% of the men’s salary, which is approximately $90,000. The discrepancy is blamed on WNBA’s revenue, which is relatively low compared to the NBA’s. However, 39% of the NBA’s revenue is given to its players, while the WNBA gives only 17%. “I am tired of people thinking that we players are asking for the same type of money as NBA players,” WNBA star player Kelsey Plum said. “We are asking for the same percentage of revenue shared within our collective bargaining agreement.”
The purpose of this article is not to start a “gender war” but to emphasize the fact that there is an unfair pay gap between men and women in the labor force. Additionally, it is to highlight that female athletes are treated unfairly. As a country, we should praise our female teams, like those of soccer and hockey, for their successes in games, as well as support leagues like the WNBA rather than rid them of the benefits that their male counterparts are receiving.