The insolence of the media with women's sports

In the world of football, economic inequality between men and women is an issue that has sounded echoing lately due to the complaints and criticisms made by the players of the US women's team, current world champion.

Women soccer players in a match.

Women soccer players in a match. / Reference image / Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post | Christopher Ramírez

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Leer en español: La insolencia de los medios de comunicación con el deporte femenino

According to El País de España, for the Women's World Cup this 2019, in France, a total budget of 30 million dollars was set up for all the teams that participated in this tournament. Thus, being the United States the champion, American football players were entitled to a prize of almost 4 million dollars, as reported by The Economist of Spain.

However, these figures fall short (too much) if a parallel is made between the money destined for female awards and the same item in the Men's World Cup, for example.  According to the newspaper El Mundo, France, when crowned as champion in Russia 2018, was left with 38 million dollars; In other words, only the French eleventh earned eight million more than what FIFA allocated for all the women's World Cup teams.

“If FIFA really cares about the game of men and women in the same way, why is it letting the gap grow? (…) I don't think FIFA has us, in general, the same level of respect that it has for men,” said US captain Megan Rapinoe.

A problem of the whole sport

But wage inequality between men and women is not typical of football alone, but of sport in general. This is one of the many problems that are visible throughout the sports world, and this is reflected in Forbes magazine in its list of the highest-paid athletes on the planet.

The ranking of the famous publication is led by the soccer player Lionel Messi with 127 million dollars, followed by his colleague Cristiano Ronaldo with 109 million and, thirdly, Neymar with 105 million

Of course, up to this point, it is surprising that the three athletes who receive the most money are soccer players, but from the fourth place, the list starts to dominate athletes of other disciplines such as American football or basketball.

However, what has been criticized the most is that of the 100 athletes that make up the list, only one is a woman: Serena Williams, and does not occupy precisely a good place. The American tennis player, the current number 9 in the world, is positioned in box 63 with a total income of $ 29 million; almost 100 million less than Messi.

Read also: What difficulties does female soccer face around the world?

Media inequality?

However, as usual, football plays a trick on the international press, because, in what seems like a vicious circle, inequality in football has more media attention than the inequality present in other sports.

There are many publications, whether in the media or academic research, that put football at the center of this problem, but very few are those that recognize, for example, that:

  1. According to Mitchelton-Scott general manager Shayne Bannon, a UCI WorldTour men's team (top level of cycling) can hold an annual average of almost $ 19 million. A women's team in the same category does not exceed 200 thousand dollars. "That means that men have 75 times more money to work," explains the Planet Triathlon portal.
  2. While men ensure at least income over $ 33,000, women do not have a minimum wage in cycling. This right will be granted only until 2020, as detailed by the president of the International Cycling Union, David Lappartient.
  3. "17% of professional cyclists do not receive any salary and more than half work in a second job to make ends meet," says the Women's Cycling portal. And it is that only 8% of women accommodate a salary of almost 45 thousand dollars.

It should be clarified that these are data collected in three different portals (Planet Triathlon, Women's Cycling, and Cycling News), all with very similar information to each other; and it is that there is very little research and news that exists, in this case, about the economic gender gap in cycling.

For the sample a button: Google offers a total of 6,510,000 results on “women inequality in football”, 89% more than those that show “women inequality in cycling”, with 735,000 results.

Fernando Cabrera, columnist of Forbes in Mexico and expert in sports law, quoted the International Labor Organization (ILO) when he explained that “any distinction, exclusion or preference based on race, color, sex, religion, political opinion, national ancestry or social origin that has the effect of nullifying or altering equal opportunities or treatment in employment and occupation, ”can be considered discrimination.

Taking this into account, it could be said that the media, by neglecting the gender problems present in sports other than football, not only do not counteract this problem but also contribute to labor discrimination on the planet.