The compensation gap between women and men spans almost every industry, and this also goes for sports (Olivia Abrams/ Forbes.com). One of the highest-paid NBA players, Lebron James, will make $37,436,858 during the 2019-2020 NBA season while one of the highest-paid WNBA players, DeWanna Bonner, will only make $127,500 during this season (spotrac.com). While some say both men and women equally play and practice as hard for their team, critics say that men average more minutes than women in sports so they play harder. Some say that women and men are both equally putting their hearts and soul into each game but opponents say men do more things that are better for their team like jumping higher than women do. Women don’t get enough media and tv attention than men while skeptics say men sports are more entertaining than women’s sports so they get covered more often. Women should undoubtedly be paid equally to men in sports and the salary gap is outrageously unjust.
Sports compensation is a very debated topic because sports are very popular around the world. Women and men getting equal pay has been debated for many years and professional sports is just one example of how women really don’t get as much compensation as men. People can definitely disagree on this topic because valid arguments can be made for both sides of the debate. The subject of equal pay in sports pertains to the ongoing quest for a just society.
Critics who believe that men and women should not be paid equally argue that men are stronger and can play their sports better than women. They also argue that men sports associations like the NBA bring in more money than women’s associations like WNBA so they have the money to pay men more while women sports don’t have that type of money. While these beliefs may be appealing to some, they are very misguided. Women might not have as much muscle as men but they can do many things that men do in sports. Some women teams and players are better than other men teams. For example, the USA women’s soccer team was way more entertaining than the US men’s soccer team a few years back. Therefore deserve to be paid equally without discriminatory remarks.
Women and men absolutely play and practice with equivalent effort. For example, there are 30 NBA teams compared to 12 WNBA teams(espn.com/ducksters.com). This shows that women have to work harder than men to make it to the pro level because there is a smaller chance that they will make it on a team. There are also not as many scouts for the WNBA because there are fewer teams so players have to play their hearts out to have a chance to be noticed by one. The second example of women working hard is that a WNBA player named Liz Cambage averaged 24 minutes a game which was the lowest for all starters in the WNBA all-star game(wnba.com). This shows how much work women put on their bodies for their team. Lastly, in tennis women and men pay and stats are comparable. The difference between the percent of baseline points won is .26 and the percentage difference of serve and volley points won is .11(Craig O’Shannessy/nytimes.com). This shows that women in tennis get paid comparably to men because their stats are comparable. Women’s stats are comparable to men in many sports so why can’t there be equal pay in other sports.
Women and men are both equally putting their heart and soul into each game for their team. According to Kevin Netto (Physiotherapy and exercise science, Curtin University), “Statistics show in non-contact sports, female athletes suffer more knee and shoulder injuries compared to men,”(the conversation.com) This shows that women are risking being injured every time they play and practice. They know what could happen but they put their bodies on the line for their team. Another fact claimed by Kevin Netto is that “The biggest discrepancy in muscle distribution between a female and male body is that by and large, women have less muscle in the upper body compared to men.”(the conversation.com) This shows that women might not as much muscle as men but still have many abilities to do things that men do. It is harder for women to do some things compared to men but they are still able to show off their skills and capabilities when they play their sports. This proves that men sports are not always more entertaining than women’s games because women put just as much effort and heart into every game for their team.
Part of the reason many skeptics think that men should be paid more than women is that women don’t get enough tv and media attention compared to men. Male sports have higher popularity and have to get more coverage for companies to make money but women sports should definitely get more coverage than they receive(Michelle Krasovitski/the varsity.ca). For example, throughout the 2019 season, ESPN will air up to 36 WNBA games while 83 NBA games will be televised on ESPN during the 2019 season(sprtsmediawatch.com/wnba.com). Men’s basketball will have more than two times more games televised than women’s basketball games. This is definitely not proportional and is just unfair. How are people supposed to get into watching women’s sports when men’s sports are on more than half of the time? If people watched women’s sports and saw how talented they are they would watch women’s sports more often and women’s sports would be covered more often. As said in TPTS 2013 Emmy award-winning document “media coverage and women athletes” it states “40 percent of all athletes are female yet they receive just two to four percent of media coverage.”(rewire.org) This shows that almost 50 percent of all athletes are female though they only receive minimal coverage. If more people knew about female superstar athletes they would become fans of them and their team or sport. Finally, sports coverage is centered around male athlete profiles and human interest topics. This time should be used towards covering women’s sports. Most people probably know about Marlins man and the Fro-zone runner more than they know about Tamika Catchings. Fro-zone is a runner who races fans during the 7th inning of the Atlanta Braves home MLB games. Marlins man is a superfan who is known for going to sporting events wearing his iconic orange marlins jersey. People know about them but not Tamika Catchings, a WNBA champion, MVP, and 10-time all-star(thevarsity.ca). This shows that more people know about superfans than they know about professional women athletes. This is because men’s games get more coverage and while women athletes are grinding to get harder these normal people are on live television.
The compensation gap between men and women in sports is definitely mistaken and women absolutely deserve equal pay. As you can see women undoubtedly equally play and practice as hard as men. Women athletes are team players and put their heart and soul into every game for their team. People would obviously see these qualities in women athletes but they don’t get enough media attention than they deserve. On our quest for social equality, women’s and men’s compensation differences should undeniably be looked at more closely.
- “2019 WNBA National TV Schedule.” WNBA.com – Official Site of the WNBA, www.wnba.com/2019-wnba-national-tv-schedule/.
- Abrams, Olivia. “Why Female Athletes Earn Less Than Men Across Most Sports.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 26 June 2019, www.forbes.com/sites/oliviaabrams/2019/06/23/why-female-athletes-earn-less-than-men-across-most-sports/#3dd40c340fbe.
- “Liz Cambage.” WNBA.com – Official Site of the WNBA, www.wnba.com/player/liz-cambage/.
- “Media Coverage and Female Athletes.” Rewire, 21 Sept. 2017, www.rewire.org/pbs/media-coverage-female-athletes/.
- Netto, Kevin. “Should Women Athletes Earn the Same as Men? The Science Says They Work as Hard.” The Conversation, 11 Sept. 2018, theconversation.com/should-women-athletes-earn-the-same-as-men-the-science-says-they-work-as-hard-57210.
- O’shannessy, Craig. “Looking for Equality in Tennis? Check the Stat Sheet.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 27 Aug. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/08/26/sports/tennis-equality.html.
- “Sexism in Sports Media Coverage.” The Varsity, 28 Jan. 2019, thevarsity.ca/2019/01/27/sexism-in-sports-media-coverage/.
- “Sports.” Ducksters Educational Site, www.ducksters.com/sports/list_of_nba_teams.php.
- “WNBA Teams.” ESPN, ESPN Internet Ventures, www.espn.com/wnba/teams.