The gender pay gap in sport is huge. We look at some shocking statistics in the wake of Banyana Banyana’s late payments and reported earning disparities. Forbes Africa reports that resources are channelled to men’s sport in South Africa: ‘The game is rigged from the start. Women are playing a game of snakes with no ladders, whereas men are in a game of ladders with no snakes’. In the global context, this gap appears to be just as wide.
1. Banyana Banyana Players earn 10 Times Less Than Bafana Bafana Players on Match Bonuses
When it comes to match bonuses, Banyana Banyana players earn about 10 times less than their male counterparts, News24 reports. According to the Minister of Sport, Tokozile Xasa, Banyana’s players receive a R5 000 match bonus for an official match win, while Bafana players receive as much as R60 000 for a win. WTF?!
‘Please note that the payment structure for Banyana Banyana is based on the available resources and funding from the relevant sponsors. In this case, the only sponsor for the team is Sasol, supplemented by SAFA (South African Football Association),’ says Xasa.
In June, the team will be going to France for the Women’s World Cup after they killed it at the AFCON tournament last year. Banyana Banyana has also recently been plagued by late payments from SAFA for their December performance at the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations where they finished second place. Striker Seoposenwe spoke out on the issue:
‘We felt disrespected as players, as there was no communication. As players, we don’t want to go into games of this magnitude with unhappiness.’
2. There are no women on the 2018 list of the 100 Highest-Paid Athletes
According to Forbes, there are no female athletes on the list of the 100 highest-paid athletes. The top 100 highest-earning athletes are all men. The publication also reported that the case is similar in the industries of entertainment, business and technology.
3. Serena Williams earns almost $5-million less than the lowest-paid male athlete on that list
TimesLive reports that Serena Williams is the highest-paid female athlete in the world. She earns about R251-million and still did not make the 2018 list of 100 Highest Paid Athletes with her male counterparts. Her return from maternity leave last year likely affected her income. While she is at the top of the list of highest-earning female athletes, Serena still earns less than the 100th highest-paid male athlete. According to Forbes, this is French basketball-player Nicholas Batum ($22,9-million), while Serena sits at $18-million.
4. In SA Cricket, Proteas women earn about eight times less than men
5. Glaring Disparities in both SA Hockey and SA Rugby (Springbok women earn about R6 000 a match)
The SA Women’s Hockey team revealed that they received no salary to represent the country in 2016 in the World Cup.
The situation is not any better in South African rugby, where the Springbok women’s squad was paid between R5 000 and R7 000 a match at the Women’s World Cup in 2014. Forbes Africa reports that no tests were scheduled for the women’s national team for four years as the rugby mother body decided to focus on the Sevens derivative instead. These players earn R12 000 to R20 000 in match fees while Springbok match fees range from R90 000 to R120 000 (double for winning matches). Here’s what some of the players have said, according to IOL:
‘The women who tried to make a noise about it in the past have been kicked off the team. Those of us who are passionate about playing can’t take that risk.’
‘How can they expect us to play better, to get to the same level as the men’s teams, if some players can’t afford transport to come to practice?’
‘When they cancel training camps, when the practices are so limited, there’s no way to bring us up to the level of the men’s teams.’
6. Top Male Athletes are paid more than 10 Highest-Paid Female Athletes COMBINED
If you combine the earnings of the top 10 highest-paid female athletes, the amount is still less than what a top-earning male athlete gets paid. According to Forbes, the 10 top-earning female athletes earned a combined $105-million last year. This combined amount is less than what Floyd Mayweather (boxer), Lionel Messi (soccer player) and Christiano Ronaldo (soccer player) each earn individually. It is also estimated that NBA players earn 100 times more than WNBA players.
The enormous pay gap across sports and countries raises several concerns and questions. Women being underpaid in sports means that the industry will attract fewer talented sportswomen. It also makes one question how much more resources go into developing boys in sports at a school level, relative to girls. If this gender bias is not addressed, it looks like this cycle will continue. Women in sports deserve better.
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