Had I been born with testicles, I’m pretty sure I’d be spared much humiliation when discussing my finances during my sporting career. I remember picking up my first winner’s cheque of €500 at a small competition in Ireland and thinking I had made it. Until I realised that men in the 100m at the same event received €2,000. It was a rude awakening.
Although many sports have moved into the 21st century and award equal prize money at major competitions, 30% of sports, including football, cricket and squash, refuse to move forward, as was highlighted this week in a study by the BBC.
It begs the question, do the governing bodies of these sports actually care about the women who choose to take part and represent the country? I don’t believe the (mainly) old boys do. When the men and women’s teams of Arsenal both won the FA Cup this year, the women were paid £5,000 as a team and the men received £1.8m. Why hasn’t anyone held up these governing bodies by the balls (pun intended) and demand that they put strategies in place to bridge sport’s embarrassing gender wage gap?
It has been argued that women’s sport isn’t as businesslike as men’s, that it doesn’t generate enough interest to justify equality on the pay scale. But this is because they refuse to give women’s sport the same platform.
How many people watched the female FA Cup and how many the male? And where does the money come from? Quite, the number of people watching.
Further, men and women are actually competing in different sports. To demand equal pay is as crazed as insisting that the World Tiddlywinks champion should be paid the same as the World Heavyweight champion. They’re simply different things.