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Sandoval ‘s Sports Series 4

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Sandoval ‘s Sports Series 4

Kayli Sandoval, Editor-in-Chief

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New year, same… gender wage gaps in professional sports. Despite factors such as revenue and ratings, the difference in paychecks, prize money, and awards is far too striking, especially when considering and comparing the performance of both male and female teams.

   According to an American news media website, in 2016, “If the [United States Women’s National Soccer Team] were to win all their exhibition games, their average pay would be 99,000 dollars — still lower than that of the men, at 100,000 dollars if they were to lose all their games,”according to a New York Times graph (salon.com). The United States Women’s Soccer Team (USWNT) became very vocal about equal pay in 2016, one year after becoming FIFA World Cup Champions.

   Fortunately, in the fight for equality, the USWNT broke the labor impasse collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in a five-year deal with the US Soccer Federation. Before the agreement, according to Forbes, “Despite bringing in more money than the men’s team, the US Women’s National Soccer Team [was getting] paid nearly four times less. That prompted Olympic Gold Medalist Hope Solo to file a lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation over pay discrimination in April 2016, along with her teammates” (forbes.com).

    According to Sports Illustrated, the CBA included “… a significant increase in direct compensation and bonus compensation; enhanced ‘lifestyle’ benefits for the players with respect to travel and hotels; per diems that are equal to those of the men’s team; and greater financial support for players” (si.com).

  The aforementioned Forbes article, published in 2016, went on to depict a more astonishing statistic stating the fact that Neymar, a professional Brazilian soccer player, earned 43.8 million dollars, taking only his playing contract into account, for the 2017-18 season. “By comparison, all of the players in the US National Women’s Soccer League only earn 5.4 million dollars collectively every year” (forbes.com).

   USWNT Keeper Hope Solo and the rest of the USWNT were lucky to acquire an agreement with the federation. However, in many other sports, the wage gap remains undiscussed. As of this year, the wage gap between the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBA) and the Men’s National Basketball League is still growing.

   The reason why most men’s sports are getting paid more does have to do with viewers. Unlike the USWNT, other professional female sports do not top or come close to making the amount of revenue that men’s sports bring. When it comes down to it, though, it isn’t fair that women putting in the same amount of work as men get paid millions less. The reasoning isn’t wrong and if more people truly want to close the wage gap, they’d have to support women’s sports the same way they support men’s.

   Aside from the WNBA, female professional golf, tennis, and even collegiate women’s teams are shortchanged for the hard work that they put in. In an article published by the New York Times, Economist Andrew Zimbalist stated, “The total value of a victory in the [NCAA Men’s Basketball] tournament is approximately 1.56 million dollars. By contrast, a win in the women’s tournament brings a reward of exactly zero dollars. That’s right, zero dollars.”

   As 2019 continues, hopefully, we can see wage gaps diminish in more sports.

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Sandoval ‘s Sports Series 4