Is There a Wage Gap Between Male and Female Athletes?

Geoffrey M. R. Hammond

Liz Daley, Staff Writer

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The wage gap between men and women in the workplace is no secret. In 2019, women reportedly earn up to 79% as much as the men in the workplace, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. However, although the gap between women and men has declined, there is still one industry in which men and women are segregated when it comes to wages.

Athletics is one of the worst industries with a wage gap. Almost every female sport is guaranteed to make well below the standard in men’s sports. It is a rare instance in which a female makes just as much or above the average pay for men in a sport.

For instance, baseball players in the MLB and softball players in the NPF have one of the biggest clefts in their average pay. Professional players in the MLB average $3.4 million a year, yet the average pay for a professional in the NPF averages $5,000. If one cannot visualize the issue with that tremendous difference, another instance of this divide in the pay of men and women athletes is basketball.

On average, a male athlete in the NBA makes $6.2 million dollars each season while a female in the WNBA averages $71,635 thousand dollars. That’s less than the starting pay for a rookie in the NBA, who on a standard basis start with a median pay of $838,464. That being said, there are a few sports in which females do remain equal to men in their average salary. Gymnastics and tennis are two wonderful examples of sports where a wage rift does not exist. Both men and women make the same amount, being based more on skill than gender.

Why women don’t make as much as men could be due to several reasons. Women did not start creating their own league of sports until long after the men’s leagues were already established. By then, people had watched the men play for years. There was no reason to switch to watching females play the exact same sport when men had dominated it for that long.

Another reason may simply be that people don’t find women’s sports to be as enthralling as men’s, and there is nothing wrong with that. Everyone has a choice in which sports they wish to turn on their tv. People should not become angry and bitter towards others simply because they don’t want to watch female sports. It defeats the entire purpose of fixing the wage gap, and in the long run, makes it worse by turning people off from watching female sports in the first place.

In the end, sports are one of the most grueling industries for a woman to make her living. Things will be unjust. She will have to be more persistent in her efforts in order to make half of what a man makes in the same sport. But, hopefully in the near future, professional female athletes will no longer have the issues they possess today. Perhaps in years to come, there will be a time when women athletes have equal pay.

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