By Jessi K. Axe, NOW Government Relations Intern
Update: World Champs! – On Sunday, in the most-watched soccer event in U.S. television history, more than 26 million people tuned in for the Federation Internationale de Futbol Association (FIFA) Women’s World Cup Final between the United States and Japan. The U.S. team made history by scoring three goals within the first 16 minutes of the game and eventually won in a 5-2 victory over the previous world champs, Japan. In the wake of a hard fought and thrilling victory that captured national attention and pride, attention should be turned to the unfair gender discriminatory practices of FIFA and, more importantly, the sports world.
This is the third time that the U.S. women’s team has won the FIFA Women’s World Cup Championship. The total prize bonus for the 2015 winner of the women’s tournament is $2 million. Not a bad chunk of change until you notice that the German men’s team got $35 million for winning the World Cup in 2014. It’s also worth pointing out that the U.S. men’s team got $8 million for being knocked out in the first round of the 2014 World Cup. Did I also mention that the U.S. men’s team has never won a FIFA World Cup Championship? Yeah, never.
The argument for the wage disparity between men and women in sports usually turns to the amount of viewers each tournament brings. As I said before, the women’s tournament brought in 26 million television viewers on Sunday night compared to the 16.4 million viewers the men’s match between Belgium and the U.S. in 2014.
However, wage and prize money for term papers disparities are disturbing problems across the athletic spectrum. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, the prize money for the Professional Golf Association (PGA) tour, more than $250 million, is more than five times that of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour ($50 million). In the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), the minimum salary for 2013 was $37,950 and the team salary cap was $913,000. For National Basketball Association (NBA) players during the same season, the minimum salary was $490,180 and the team salary cap was $58.7 million.
More Than a Pay Stub– The pay gap in sports between men and women is the most visible evidence of gender discrimination, but there are also pervasive discriminatory practices committed by prominent league officials and franchises.
For example, after FIFA announced that the Women’s World Cup would be played on artificial turf and not natural grass, 84 women soccer players from 13 countries filed suit against FIFA in 2013. The players argued that artificial turf degrades the “dignity, state of mind and self–respect” of athletes while making actual playing more challenging. In 2014, lawyers representing the group claimed that some of the players were receiving “unlawful reprisal threats” for participating in the legal action. FIFA then argued that playing on artificial turf is allowed under FIFA rules and refused to budge on the issue forcing players to drop the lawsuit so they could play. Most shocking, however, is that FIFA refused to use natural grass for the final, even after the lawn care company like http://samedayessays.org/help-with-homework/, Scotts, offered free installation!
FIFA also excludes women from senior positions in the organization. Of the 27 members of FIFA’s executive committee, only three are women and none of those women hold offices higher than the position of vice president. Additionally, Alexandra Wrage, a former Independent Governance Committee member, was asked to stop recommending female candidates for governance positions. Wrage resigned in 2013 citing “blatant sexism” throughout the organization of best essay writer
Beyond FIFA– FIFA is not the only organization, entity, or person blatantly discriminating based on gender in the sports world. For example, women are the majority of students on college campuses, but men receive a larger share of athletic scholarships. ESPN’s Sportscenter persistently devotes less than five percent of its highlights program to women’s sports. And Andy Benoit, a writer for Sports Illustrated, recently tweeted that “women’s sports in general (are) not worth watching” for which he was properly skewered by Amy Poehler on Late Night with Seth Meyers. All of this demonstrates that rampant and deep-rooted gender discrimination persists at every level in the sports community.