The gender pay gap has always been a reason of concern in every field, but the difference between men and women football salaries is significantly higher than in all other professions. The gap is so ridiculous that the U.S women’s national football team has filed a lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation for the difference in pay with their male counterparts. Let’s look at the numbers.
Salary Differences The highest male paid footballer, Lionel Messi, earns 130 million annually, while Ada Heberberg, the highest paid female footballer earns about 400,000 per year. In the UK, the Women’s super league players take home 26,752 on average a year, and yet the men players in the Super League earn 2.64m annually.
Besides holding the World Cup title thrice consecutively, the US women’s national team members, as revealed in the lawsuit, received 1.5m in bonuses for bringing the 2015 Women’s World Cup home, the men, on the other hand, received 4m for making it to the last 16 at the 2014 World Cup. The men players receive almost twice in pay bonuses compared to women team members, despite the women performing better in their games than the men. Unbelievable, but true.Differences in Prize Money Salaries aside, the gap is evident in the prize money as well. France, the 2018 World Cup winners, took home $38 million out of the $400 million prize money while women’s World Cup champions this year are expected to take home $4m out of the $30 million prize money. Although the $30 million is an increase from $15 million that was the prize offered in 2015, the gap is evident. The men champions took home $8 million more money than the total amount all twenty four teams in the 2019 World Cup are fighting for.
In fact, the 2022 Men’s World Cup is expected to have $440 million in prize money. A $40 million increase compared to the $15 million increase the women received.
Marketing Women’s Football Most people argue that the men’s football events make more than the female football events explaining the difference in pay. For instance, the 2011 women’s World cup made $73 million in profits while the men’s 2010 World Cup raked in $4 billion. True, this could explain the difference between men and women football salaries, but again, is it the player’s responsibility to market the game?
Media coverage for the men’s 2018 World Cup was large compared to the 2019 World Cup coverage. This includes shares on social media channels such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. History proves that women football can attract an attendance as high as male’s football. The largest-ever attendance of a football game was experienced in 1920, but the Football Association banned the women’s game call it unsuitable for women. The ban was lifted in 1971 but the effect has been felt ever since. With more aggressive marketing and endorsement of women’s football events and players, the gap in revenue could close.
In Conclusion, the difference between men and women football salaries is insane. Whether the men’s football is generating more revenue or not, the game is the same and so should the pay. Ensuring each game generates maximum revenue is the responsibility of the organizers and managers. The only difference in pay should not be on the basis of gender, but rather, the performance of the player and years of experience.