Today’s guest post is by freelance graphic designer James Smith of vouchercloud. When James came to me with an infographic that pointed out the sobering pay gap between men and women in major sports, I knew it was an important topic for a blog post. He kindly agreed to pen a post and it follows below, along with the infographic at the end. Take it away, James!
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Gender & Sport: Where is the Balance?
With women continuing to impress on the world sporting stage, it would be natural to assume they’ve been able to bridge the money gap between themselves and their male counterparts – but have they?
While figures like Ronda Rousey, Serena Williams and Brazilian football star Marta are slowly becoming household names, is that sort of increased presence being recognised from a financial perspective for female athletes?
Tennis: Men Vs. Women for Wages
Tennis is arguably the sport which sees the closest parity between the sexes, with equal prize money currently offered at all major tournaments.
Roger Federer is the most highly paid player in the game –despite earning just £2.7m in prize money last year, when compared to the £7m Serena Williams clocked up.
Amazingly though, while Williams has stood out as one of the most dominant female players ever, she was only able to bring home £7m in sponsorship deals, which pales in comparison to the staggering £33.1m Federer was handed.
It seems, when it comes to tennis, while significant advancements have been made in the public eye, the business dealings behind the scenes still massively favour male players.
Football and the Gender Pay Gap
In football the gulf between the sexes is a drastic one. As things stand, Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney is currently on a contract which sees him earn a staggering £300k a week – that despite not always featuring for the Red Devils.
Marta by contrast is paid just £4.9k per week – a figure which itself is a lot higher than what the average female footballer will receive.
The divide is perhaps no more perfectly emphasised than by the difference in prize money between the major tournaments. The numbers are a little staggering:
- The World Cup – sees the winning team receive £22m in the men’s game and just £600k in the women’s
- The Champions League – hands out £8.3m to the winning male team, but just £200k to the female winners
- The FA Cup – sees women pick up just £5,000 (about two-and-half hours’ work for Rooney), while the men get £1.8m
- The Premier League & Women’s Super League – amazingly, there’s no prize money for the Super League, while the Premier League winners receive £97.5m
Women’s Earnings in Golf
While golf isn’t a sport that’s universally loved, there’s a shocking amount of money in it. 2015 US Masters winner Jordan Spieth pocketed a cool £1.1m just for winning the tournament and has racked up £25.4m in total prize money in his career.
By contrast, Lydia Ko earned just the £180k for winning the Australian Open, and has received a collective £1.85m in her entire career – seeing her stand out by some way as the top earner in the history of the female game.
Men and women play off of different tees in golf – but the additional 50 or so yards males are forced to drive the ball hardly compensates for this massive void between the sexes.
More Facts about the Gender Pay Gap
It would be impossible to sit here and list every sport’s figures for male and female earnings, so here are a few select points of interest:
- Marathon runners are generally paid equally, with both male and female victors bringing home £199k for their efforts
- In snooker, the World Championship sees £300k handed to the winner in the men’s game and just £2k in the women’s
- In cricket there is an insane gulf, with £2.6m handed to the male team and just £47k to the female (57.5 times less) for winning the World Cup
- There is some good news though, with speed skating, shooting, bowls, archery, triathlon and high diving all offering equal prize money.
Generally, the gap between male and female prize money is pretty wide. The likely explanation for this comes from the fact male sport brings in far greater viewers and revenue for organisations. Will that change? We’ll discover the answer in time.
If you found these stats interesting, check out the fascinating infographic below for more facts and figures on the amount of money in male and female sport.
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James Smith is a freelance graphic designer originally from Sheffield but now living in Bristol. I work on a lot of projects for vouchercloud, who are an online and offline voucher code site operating in various countries around the world.