Rafael Nadal and the law of supply and demand

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"What is your opinion on women earning less than men in tennis and what do you think is this based on?", they asked Nadal at a press conference

Rafael Nadal and the Woman symbol

During the press conference before his debut at the Masters 1000 in Madrid, Rafael Nadal received a question about the salary gap. The response caused criticism, and it was not the first time that the athlete generates this type of reaction due to statements on the subject.

Leer en español: Rafael Nadal y la ley de oferta y demanda

In June of last year, he said that the difference in wages is not a matter of gender, but rather it is a benefit-profit relationship: the one that generates the most benefits wins, so the differences in earnings between men and women "is a comparison that should not even be made".

In his last statements, the tennis player used an example to explain his argument: that in the world of modeling women earn more and in that case nobody questions that there is a wage gap. "Why do women earn more than men in fashion? Well, I do not know, but we did not talk about the salary difference all day".

The athlete said that depending on each market, the people who generate more followers and benefits will have a higher salary, so in the world of basketball or tennis men generate more followers, while in the world of modeling, women are the ones with more followers: "Models earn more than their colleagues but nobody says anything, and why, because they have more followers, the same happens in tennis, those who mobilize more public gain more."

The tennis player unleashed a wave of criticism in social networks due to his response, which now generates questions such as: what is behind Nadal's claims? Is it true that women earn more in the world of fashion?

The athlete wanted to imply that what matters is not the gender but the skills of each person to do their job, therefore, each one should have a salary proportional to how well they perform regardless of whether they are male or female: "Sometimes women will earn more, other men will earn more, what we have to achieve is that not because you are men or women you'll earn more or less, but because of the quality of your work and what you are able to sell or generate, everything else, I'm sorry but it's hypocrisy".

In turn, the indignation of the people who criticized this argument arises from the fact that Nadal minimizes all the problems of the gender gap in industries, to the point of ensuring that it does not exist. "Sometimes it would be good if he did not even think about the issue, world image, giving this message, we are not moving forward, dear Rafael!" Argentine tennis player Paula Ormaechea wrote on twitter about Nadal's answers.

How is the wage gap in the fashion world?

Now, is it true that women earn more in the fashion industry? When it comes to modeling, yes they do. According to a study published by the BBC, the models earn around 75% more than their male colleagues and are included in the best-paid lists in the industry. However, we must not forget that models are not the only pieces in the fashion industry. There are also executives, salespeople and all the pieces that range from the highest position to the employees with the lowest salaries.

The United Kingdom, as a way to make visible and fight against the wage gap, has provided for the second consecutive year statistics that show the difference in salaries between men and women who work in large companies. Among these figures, it can be clearly seen that in the fashion industry men continue to earn more because even though brands employ a large number of women, they pay less, sometimes much less, than what they pay men.

Among the companies with the highest figures are the fashion retailer Missguided, which reported an average gap of 46 percent in favor of men, Farfetch who reported a gap of 39.5 percent, Asos with a gap of 32.7 percent and Matches Fashion with a 31 percent gap.

One of the reasons for the gap is that although a large number of women are hired, the positions they occupy are the worst paid, while the executive positions are usually occupied by men.

A study that interviewed 535 men and women professionals in the fashion business, conducted by Glamor magazine, McKinsey & Company and the Council of Fashion Designers of America, showed that women are less likely to occupy high positions in the fashion industry, because, although they aspire to it, it is more likely that their male colleagues are promoted to these positions.

Also read: What are the industries dominated by women?

And why is this? To talk about gender inequality at work and specifically about the roles that men and women play in an industry, we should talk about issues such as gender roles and stereotypes. But to not delve into the subject, just return to the models and Rafael Nadal's position.

Models earn more than men who work in the same profession, it's true. It is just one of the very few professional sectors in which women earn more and it is no coincidence that the success of the profession is based on the physical attribute of beauty, while in all other professions (where success is not based on established roles for women such as fitting into a beauty canon, carrying out maternal functions, or performing housework) men occupy better positions and earn a better salary.

Therefore, the true hypocrisy is that Nadal has minimized this problem, either due to lack of information or because he is not affected by it, when it is a fact that gender inequality exists and permeates so much in the sports industry or in the fashion industry, as in many more.


LatinAmerican Post | María Fernanda Barinas

Translated from "Rafael Nadal y la ley de la oferta y la demanda"

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