WOMEN’S PRIZES MUST IMPROVE
There is a teaching technique called ‘ two stars and a wish’. It does what it says on the tin: give the student two things that they should be proud of, praised for, and then a bit of criticism. It’s an iron fist in a velvet glove.
(It’s also known more prosaically as the proverbial ‘sh* t sandwich’.)
So, good things first. The Tour de France Femmes will pay € 250,000 in prize money in its inaugural edition, which is the largest prize purse for any women’s race ever, dwarfing the £ 100,000 that was on offer at the last RideLondon Classique in 2019. € 50,000 of the prize money will go to the overall winner. Secondly, Trek-Segafredo revealed that they have been making up the discrepancies between prize money for men and women at equivalent races this season. For example, they made up the gap between the € 1,535 paid to Paris- Roubaix Femmes winner Lizzie Deignan, and the € 30,000 that Sonny Colbrelli earned for winning the men’s race a day later.
Here’s the wish: simply, pay women more. It is great that so much money is on offer for the first Tour de France Femmes, but that is a fraction compared to the € 2.3million up for grabs including € 500,000 for the winner of the men’s race. Sure, the women’s Tour will be shorter, but even proportionally there should be € 876,190 on offer. Instead, there is less than a third of that.
Trek should be commended for boosting those prize pots, but this should not have to happen. UCI rules say that the prize money for a WWT one- day race should be €7,005, with € 1,535 awarded to the winner; conversely, they say that a men’s WorldTour one- day race should pay out € 50,000, € 20,000 awarded to the winner. This discrepancy is egregious. The wish is the more important bit: pay female riders more, put them on television more, give them the spotlight, and the sport will grow exponentially.