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Should men and women be paid the same in sports?

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Women’s sport has largely progressed in the last 50 years. Women now play a larger range of sports and have access to many opportunities to play sport at a professional level. Yet the athletic world is still largely male-dominated. Women and men rarely play sport together and women are paid less when compared to men playing the same form of professional sport. In a recently published list of the 100 highest paid athletes globally there were only two women on the list. One of these women was Maria Sharapova who is currently the highest paid female athlete of all time, yet when compared to male athletes she doesn’t even pass the top 25. This figure questions the idea of gender equality in sport and more importantly whether sports competitions should be of equal pay to both male and female athletes. There are many arguments to support this statement including equal preparation for both female and male events and the change in society’s views of women. Likewise there are arguments which oppose to this statement such as the differences between men and women’s sporting competitions and the difference in revenue from both sports. This essay will further discuss whether women and men should be paid equally in sport.

Firstly, female athletes put a lot of hard work, determination, time, training and commitment into their sport. It is important to reward an athlete either male or female by acknowledging their efforts and performance. Giving less prize money to an athlete for a reason such as their gender is condescending and out-of date. Women train as hard, play as strong and use the same amount of effort as male athletes so there is no reason for male athletes to be paid more for the same sport. Men and women work equally hard to do their best in sport and they should receive the same amount for their triumph. Additionally, women have been trying to become equal to men for many years especially in sport. Sport is usually seen as a very masculine activity and in the past women have not been able to compete at a high level. Women have been discriminated in the past and haven’t had the right to vote, work or have any kind of opinion. The world has since evolved and women have many better opportunities and are now encouraged to take part in sport. In order for the world to move closer to gender equality, old stereotypes are to be broken and rewards be equal.

 Alternatively, men’s sporting events tend to attract better sponsorship deals, higher attendance, more media interest and higher revenue for the sporting industry when compared to Women’s sport. Men are more inclined to watch sport than women, making the audience for male sporting events larger than that of women’s. With a larger audience comes the advantage of expensive advertising deals and detailed news of sporting events in newspaper and television. It is important to keep in mind that sport at a professional level is a form of business and an occupation for these sports people. If men supply these competitions with more money it is only fair that male athletes also earn more money than female athletes. Furthermore, men and women have different sets of skills and abilities. Men’s bodies are larger and more muscular making it easier for them to compete in sports. Male sports are said to be faster paced, more physical and better to watch.

Furthermore, Women play shorter games for example in tennis men play five sets whereas women only play three. Male athletes compete at a different level of competition and therefore deserve a different prize for their efforts. After taking into consideration these arguments we can see this is a very debatable issue. On the one hand equalizing the prize money for sports competition will reward female athletes for their achievements and dedication to sport in same way as male athletes. It will also help the world of sport to move forward and continue expanding the industry. On the other hand, male athletes may be unhappy that female athletes gain money for seemingly less work and less income to the sporting community. Overall, equalizing pay would be a good movement forward for everyone involved in sport. Competitions such as Wimbledon are already moving towards the goal of gender equality by providing equal prize money for the male and female competitions.


Erin Handley, ‘Slamming inequality’, The Age, Accessed 10th November 2013, Available: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/slamming-inequality-20130704-2pesa.html#ixzz2izANfiJ3Kurt Badenhausen, ‘The World’s Highest-Paid Athletes 2013: Behind The Numbers’, Forbes, Accessed 4th November 2013, Available: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2013/06/05/the-worlds-highest-pai
d-athletes-2013-behind-the-numbers/Paul Newman, ‘The Big Question: Should women players get paid as much as men at Wimbledon?’, The Independent, Accessed 8th November 2013, Available: http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/the-big-question-should-women-players-get-paid-as-much-as-men-at-wimbledon-405067.html. Rosemary Brown, ‘Show me the money: Gender equity in sport prize awards’, Goddess Concepts, Accessed 8th November 2013, Available: http://www.goddessconcepts.com/pdf/Article-ShowMeTheMoney.pdf. Unknown, ‘Should Female Tennis Players Be Paid The Same As Men?’, Fitness talk, accessed 10th November 2013, Available: http://www.fitnesstalk.com.au/should-female-tennis-players-be-paid-the-same-as-men/. Unknown, ‘Should men and women be paid the same in sports?’, Debate.org, accessed 7th November 2013, Available: http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-men-and-women-be-paid-the-same-in-sportsUnknown, ‘Should Wimbledon and other sports competitions offer equal prize money for men and women?’, Debate.org, accessed 7th November 2013, Available: http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-wimbledon-and-other-sports-competitions-offer-equal-prize-money-for-men-and-women.

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