Women in Sport

Gender Inequality: prize money

Whilst the UK widely accepts and acknowledges that more should be done to promote women’s sports, sexism is still prominent in the competitive sport industry and this works its way down all the way to local level sports. 

Insure4sport[1]conducted a national survey regarding men and women in sports and the results were staggering. The results show, there is clear inequality within sport and the latest prize money statistics illustrate just how evident this is, with football being the chief culprit. 

On average, male footballers receive £21.5 million more in prize money than female footballers. To put this into perspective, the prize money received by an average male footballer is nearly 40 times higher than his female counterpart. While other sports don’t provide such a stark contrast, the disparity in prize money is still a cause for concern. This is merely one example of gender inequality within sport, and things are moving with the times, in tennis, volleyball, athletics and swimming, the prize money is now equal.

The opinion of whether women in sport should get the same money, coverage and recognition is divided, arguably football still has the longest way to come. In 2017, the prize money that Real Madrid men’s team received for winning the Champions League was £13.5m, whereas Lyon, the winners of the women’s Champions league, was just £219,920. 

What do our viewing habits say?

This seismic gap seems unfair, but there must be a root cause for this huge, apparent gender difference? It certainly isn’t success rates, with England women’s football team consistently outperforming the men’s team at major championships. We only have to look at the Lionesses who have made it to the semi-finals having beaten Norway. #Lionesses

These results reinforce the categorisation of volleyball and hockey being viewed as ‘women’s sports’, implying sexism among spectators, yet the recent success of Great Britain’s female hockey team, which won its first every Olympic hockey gold medal in 2016 increasing spectatorship. But there is still a long way to go in increasing interest in women’s sport. The underlying reason for men and women not watching women’s sport is that ‘women are not as skilled as men’ and ‘should not play sports designed for ‘men’ such as rugby and football’. 

Does this affect participation?

YES. A staggering 92% of female haven’t considered a career in sport. However, hopefully greater coverage of female participation, combined with more national campaigns such as This Girl Can, will continue to change attitudes towards women in sport for better. 

The more that women and girls see female role models, the more women of all ages will be encouraged to take part in sport, and hopefully more people of both sexes will watch women’s sport at an elite level. 

Here are a few of my female sporting heroes: (I have also attached a link to The Independents, who have listed 50 top female role models, well worth a look![2])

In no particular order… 

  1. Lizzie Yarnold
  2. Kate Richardson-Walsh
  3. Maddie Hinch
  4. Tracey Neville
  5. Victoria Pendleton
  6. Jessica Ennis-hill
  7. Charlotte Edwards
  8. Laura Trott

[1]Howells, Dr K. (2018) Director of Physical Education https://www.insure4sport.co.uk/blog/the-uks-attitudes-towards-women-in-sport/

[2]The 50 most influential women in sport: https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/the-50-most-influential-women-in-sport-the-full-list-10446935.html

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