Saturday, April 2, 2016

Women Paid Less? No Excuse Here

When women athletes are paid less than their male counterparts, the traditional argument has been that women's teams do not draw the paying crowds men's teams do and they earn far less than the men's teams. Except when they don't.

The United States women's soccer team is a marvelous example of the flip side of that argument. It earns far more than the men's team, wins a hell of a lot more, draws more fans and earns between 40 percent and 70 percent less per athlete, according to this HuffingtonPost graphic (and story, here).

According to the story, a recent report concluded that "More than half of the gender pay gap in the U.S. can be attributed to the fact that men and women work in different jobs and industries," though there are good reasons for that, often based on culturally-programmed gender identification. Example: "Eighty-four percent of chief executives in the U.S. are men; ninety-five percent of hairdressers are women."

Here is a substantial portion of the basis for the complaint by women soccer players: "The pay set-up is so skewed in the men’s favor that in 2015 the men’s team earned $9 million for simply making it to the round of 16 in their World Cup attempt. That same year, the women, won the World Cup and pulled in $2 million. Even on the small things, women soccer players get shafted: Women get $50 to cover daily expenses when they’re on tour in the U.S., while men get $62.50."

That's about as clear as the discrimination gets and maybe it will help level the playing field, so to speak.

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