Breaking the Mold: Unveiling the Disparities in Compensation for Women Athletes - Unified Sports

Breaking the Mold: Unveiling the Disparities in Compensation for Women Athletes

women protesting for inequality

A sad reality lies beneath the surface of the exhilarating world of sports, where performers test their limits and motivate millions. This reality is reflected in the stark pay gap between male and female athletes. On the field, court, and track, men and women demonstrate unmatched dedication, talent, and passion; nevertheless, the reward they receive from these stages tells a different story. 

We see and hear this news so often that many athletes have even voiced their opinions on it! Female athletes often receive over 50% less than male athletes do, and this is not restricted to any one sport!

According to Collins, equity is characterized as “the state of being just and reasonable, ensuring that all individuals are treated equally and fairly.” The best way to gauge equity is by looking at the contrasting compensation that men and women receive for performing similar tasks.

Most of the Athletes are involved with sponsorships and endorsements, but they don’t amount to the actual salaries they receive. Unequal pay is a serious issue as it discriminates between genders and is proof of bias in the country. 

Men may indeed have advantages in strength and speed, but sports involve more than just those things. For example, Women might be better at balance and flexibility, but this doesn’t mean that women in sports who need those skills are paid more than men. Are gymnasts or ice skaters paid more than men?! 

An example of this is the staggering pay gap between the highest-paid players in men’s and women’s cricket in India. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) pays Smriti Mandhana 68.5 thousand US dollars per annum, which is 7% of Virat Kohli’s annual income of 952 thousand US dollars.

In another instance, the average salary for a male rugby union player in the English Premiership is around GBP150,000, while players with several international caps can earn up to GBP800,000 per annum. The clubs in the Premier 15s (the women’s equivalent of the English Premiership) are subject to a remuneration cap for the entire squad, meaning the clubs have a maximum of GBP190,000 to split between around 50 players.

Women and men are equal under the law, and women are also leaders, owners of Fortune 500 companies, and whatnot, they can do everything as well as men, however, in the sports field, they are often underpaid in front of men. Why so?

In professional tennis, there’s a difference in the number of sets played by men and women: men play five sets, while women play only three. This rule was made because people thought that women might not be as physically strong as men.

Even though women have shown they can play five sets and do well, those in charge (who were mostly men) believed that the games wouldn’t be as good if women played longer matches. But the quality of a game can drop for anyone, not just based on gender. So, using this as a reason to pay one gender more isn’t fair.

I suppose we have Billie Jean King, an iconic tennis player, to thank for initiating pay equality in the sport in 1973. Her efforts resulted in a change in the prize money for the US Open. Venus Williams, a tennis player, also advocated for equal prize money for female athletes in the most prestigious competitions.

 Wimbledon has paid both singles winners the same amount of prize money after 9 years of addressing the pay inequality. Since then, all four Grand Slam tournaments have offered equal prize money to male and female participants. Way to go, tennis! 

What can be done to solve this disparity?

female athlete runing

On the grassroots level, broadcasters and media can give equal TV time to both genders without bias. There are scenarios so often when a woman’s interview is cut short or not telecasted because there is a famous male player who shouldn’t be left waiting! The more the public sees women do brilliantly in every sport, the more they get motivated to see them! 

We root for people like us, don’t we? If every male child is inspired to be the next Virat Kohli, that is because they have had a chance to see them. They know Virat exists and plays this well, but what about little girls who play sports? Shouldn’t they have a chance to see Harmanpreet Kaur lead India, or Sakshi Malik win medals for the country? It’s time they see that women are as good as men are, and sometimes even better than them! 

Secondly, businesses should continue to invest in female sports teams and athletes through commercial partnerships and sponsorships, which will increase the visibility of female athletes. Everywhere we see today in ads and banners, it is mostly male athletes who are spread everywhere. Every major brand has either Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni, or Suryakumar Yadav. Where do we see PV Sindhu, Mary Kom, and Saina Nehwal? 

There are many great examples where backing female athletes has resulted in a profit for the companies. EG- was the official sponsor of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023 and launched the “Nothing is Impossible” campaign,

 which featured seven high-profile female athletes, including volleyballer Tifanny Abreu and basketball player Asma Elbadawi (who successfully challenged the International Basketball Federation in 2017 to lift their ban on religious headwear on the court). Making such high-profile partnerships with female athletes would only increase the exposure and profitability of women in sports in the future.

Finally, governing bodies should take notice and work together with male and female athletes to solve the pay gaps that exist in their sport. Taking inspiration from the recent event in Wales, when governing bodies encourage equality (especially when male athletes from the same sport support them), female athletes can be placed on a level playing field with their male counterparts, resulting in greater equity for female athletes.

As viewers, the only thing we can do is support them by watching them play, talking about them, and encouraging younger generations to look up to the best female athletes in the world! India has always been a land of opportunities, maybe it is time women saw that come true! 

Unified Sports has and will always support female athletes. We do our bit by organizing various sports camps for kids of both genders. Sport is for all, and we truly believe that! Get in touch with us today to enroll your child in our various sports camps, and international camps, or get their career in sports started! We cover all the bases and guarantee the result you want! Contact us at:

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