It’s sim­ple – pay sportswomen same as male coun­ter­parts

CityPress - - The 'sorry' State Of Women's Sports - YVONNE GRIMBEEK [email protected]­press.co.za

Pic­ture this: You spend 90 min­utes on a field, run­ning around, kick­ing a ball, maybe scor­ing a goal. You’ve trained ev­ery day and spent many hours learn­ing your craft and hon­ing your tal­ents.

How­ever, when it comes to pay­day, those of you wear­ing bras will earn a frac­tion of what your male coun­ter­parts get for do­ing the same thing at the same venue for the same length of time, hop­ing for the same out­come. Fair? I don’t think so.

Ar­gue all you want that male sport­ing stars at­tract big­ger crowds, that tele­vi­sion broad­casts get huge au­di­ences only when it’s men play­ing soc­cer, ten­nis or golf. I don’t care. Equal base­line pay for women and men play­ing pro­fes­sional sports should not even be an is­sue.

Just do it!

We ex­pect our sports stars (of both gen­ders) to do their best and win games. And so we should – our na­tional pride is at stake.

But for good­ness sake, let’s pay them prop­erly and well so that they can go out there and do the job we ex­pect them to do

And yet … we pay (and I use that term loosely) our Banyana play­ers about R5 000 per game won. And win­ning they have been. Far more than their male coun­ter­parts, who – sit down for this – get R75 000-plus for win­ning a game.

Why is this hap­pen­ing?

A mil­lion years ago when I went to uni­ver­sity, I was given a sports bur­sary. I held pro­vin­cial and na­tional colours and cap­tained the first team at school. One of my mates was a school first-team rugby player and also got a bur­sary – but it was four times more than mine for about a fourth of my achieve­ments. Why?

In the US, the na­tional women’s soc­cer team had to threaten to go on strike for bet­ter (but not equal) pay. The US women’s team has been the world’s most suc­cess­ful women’s soc­cer team in the past two decades, win­ning three Women’s World Cup ti­tles and four of the six Olympic gold medals since women’s soc­cer joined the Games in 1996.

Since then, women in the US and Canada have struck bet­ter deals with their sport­ing fed­er­a­tions.

But only af­ter threat­en­ing to strike or go to court.

Why is this nec­es­sary? Else­where on these pages, we have a chart of the top 10 sportswomen and men in the world and what they earn. It’s a stag­ger­ing dis­crep­ancy, but be­fore you do a Ney­mar or froth at the mouth about un­fair com­par­isons of ap­ples and pears, ask your­self why you are up­set at the com­par­i­son.

If the an­swer is “be­cause women …”, then please tell your daugh­ters that they are worth less than your sons. Tell your wives and girl­friends that you are worth more than them.

Then go back to the stone age.

It is time the most use­less de­part­ment in this coun­try, the one that sup­pos­edly looks af­ter the in­ter­ests of women and chil­dren, did some­thing about this.

In the US, they have a Ti­tle 9 pro­vi­sion that says each gen­der re­ceives equal rights to ed­u­ca­tional pro­grammes, ac­tiv­i­ties and fed­eral fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance. Be­fore Ti­tle IX of the Ed­u­ca­tion Amend­ment was signed in 1972, there were roughly 310 000 women and girls play­ing sports in col­leges and high schools through­out the na­tion. Thanks to the law, there are now more than 3 mil­lion women and girls play­ing in­ter­scholas­tic sports to­day – a num­ber that con­tin­ues to grow each year. The ben­e­fits due to the pas­sage of that law, es­pe­cially for in­ter­scholas­tic sports in gen­eral, have been im­mense.

We should en­act the same thing here. It will go some way to­wards lev­el­ling the play­ing field in the most lit­eral sense.

Also, ad­ver­tis­ers should stop be­ing lazy about their spon­sor­ships. Drink­ing beer and us­ing a cell­phone are not men-only ac­tiv­i­ties. Women make up more than 50% of the con­sumer base, and it’s time to ad­dress that base with mean­ing­ful spon­sor­ships.

In the mean­time, let’s wish our na­tional women’s soc­cer team the very best and thank a ra­dio an­nouncer for col­lect­ing money for them since their own fed­er­a­tion does not seem to care at all.

PHOTO: SYD­NEY MAHLANGU / BACKPAGEPIX

SHIN­ING STAR Banyana Banyana player Thembi Kgat­lana has been the star of the show at the Africa Women Cup of Na­tions, but will earn far less than her Bafana Bafana coun­ter­parts at the end of the tour­na­ment

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