Female footballers don't deserve to be paid as much as men
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The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup garnered unprecedented international interest last month and set new viewing records. The BBC reported that 28.1 million viewers, nearly half of the British population and over double the viewers for the last World Cup, tuned in to watch the sporting event. This surge of interest was corroborated by other news channels, and FIFA estimated viewership figures to surpass one billion ahead of the finale. This was an incredible victory for the female professional footballers who have been striving to be taken seriously as professionals and for their sport to be recognised, not as a feminine counterpart to men’s football, but as a sport in its own right. In light of this increased attention towards the sport, many have taken the opportunity to highlight the prevalent gender pay gap in professional football. Striving to tackle sexism faced by women in the industry, activists have revisited the issue of the disparities in prize money, preparation costs and club compensation awarded to men and women. Undoubtedly, a wage gap exists between male and female professional sportspersons. A table compiled by ‘Our Goal is Now,’ a campaign which advocates for increased prize money for female footballers, highlights the inequalities faced by female footballers: maybe one day women’s football will generate more than men’s football." As mentioned before, FIFA predicted the women’s finale would draw in around a billion viewers. In comparison, the 2018 Men’s World Cup was watched by 3.5 billion people worldwide. Whilst there has been increased interest in women’s football and one billion viewers is no small feat, how many female footballers could the average person name in comparison to male? Male footballers earn more because there is more interest in their sport, and greater audience figures generate more revenue. It was reported that Brazilian footballer Neymar is paid more by French football club Paris-Saint Germain than 1,693 female players from the top seven women’s football leagues combined. And whilst English female footballers are paid an average of £26,752 a year, their male counterparts earn 99 times that figure at over £2.6 million. However, Neymar and the English male footballers play football more frequently and, as a result of this, are considered more profitable by sponsors. Demanding equal pay when they are not performing an equal amount of work, simply in the name of gender equality, is sexism in itself.
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Fifa President Gianni Infantino Image Credit: Piotr Drabik via Wikimedia Commons
Undoubtedly, FIFA can also play its role to narrow the US$238 million difference between preparation costs and club payments awarded to men and women’s teams. FIFA President Gianni Infantino claims that the corporation is investing more and ‘making progress’ towards increasing the prize money by doubling its current value and allocating more money to support players. It is important to bear in mind that while women’s football is steadily becoming more popular, there is much progress still to be made in order for it to be considered comparable to men’s sport from an investment perspective. Until then, it will not receive the same amount of financial support as men’s football.
Lead Image Credit: Steffen Probdorf via Wikimedia Commons