Prejudice is at the root of women earning less
The decision by City Press to run a three-page package on the state of women’s sport further exposed the hypocrisy and prejudices that are holding it back, writes
The first call yours truly received on Sunday was from Safa acting chief executive Russell Paul, thanking the publication for it’s reportage on Banyana Banyana, but...
I nearly fell off the chair at his next question: “Who is this Yvonne woman?”
And then he went on a tirade about my colleague Yvonne Grimbeek’s last sentence in her opinion piece.
“How can she write that? What does she know?”
He went on and on ... and on. Said sentence read: “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 seems not to care a bit.”
I am told there were several calls made to Safa president Danny Jordaan by some national executive members – you can guess their gender – pointing him to this sentence.
They all ignored, or did not notice, some of the points she made, such as: “Elsewhere in 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 or 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.
“Also, advertisers should stop being lazy about their sponsorships. Drinking beer and using a cellphone is not a male-only activity. Women make up more than 50% of the consumer base, it’s time to address that base with meaningful sponsorships.”
I believe this is human nature, as it would seem that few people realised, recognised or even acknowledged City Press’ efforts in highlighting the discrepancies in pay between men and women in sports.
Botsalo Ntuane sent an email on the matter and titled his opinion: “Get eeal!”
The exclamation comes from him. He wrote: “I refer to your article in City Press under the headline: ‘It’s simple – pay sportswomen same as male counterparts’ [City press, December 2 2018].
“Surely you must be kidding. Is it about gender or quality/skill on the pitch? The quality of male football is a million times more watchable than what females can muster. On this premise, how do you justify paying them the same?
“I guess you also imply that female boxers must be paid equal to male pugilists such as Floyd Mayweather. C’mon, get real!”
There were several comments on Twitter that followed in the same vein.
@thwala007 said: “But football is business.how much tickets is woman soccer selling? Let’s look at the facts and not some sexist viewpoint [sic].”
Replying to a September 18 Pressing Issues column on how women’s football is still struggling to draw sponsors despite the strides it has made, @bravedave99 tweeted: “Why is it ‘sad’? How many people watch women’s football – live or televised? What are the broadcast rights worth?”
However, there were some positive comments this week, such as from Matome W Senyolo, whose message read: “@mwsenyolo – Thanks Bra Sbu for this article. I’ve been saying the same for years, that most of Twitter activists about Banyana have never even been to a single game, or let alone watched them on TV. And most Banyana games are even free entrances, but stadium is mostly empty [sic].”
@sea4medlog wrote: “Congrats Banyana soccer ladies. May the soccer men – who earn a fortune for ‘what’ [sic]!”
Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa, who rocked up to welcome Banyana at OR Tambo International Airport clad in an Athletics SA shirt – sponsored by Adidas, the primary competitor of Nike, which sponsors Safa – called for corporates to come on board and support the fight for equal pay in sports.
She still hasn’t spelt out the plan for her department to fight this scourge.
The ANC Women’s League said: “Our call remains equal pay for Banyana and it’s a demand we are putting forward to the sports fraternity, Safa, the corporate world and sponsors.” Rather than being armchair critics, the clarion call should be that the nation roll up its collective sleeves and put its money and actions where its mouth is in a bid to transform the poor state of women’s sports.
Prejudice will take us nowhere.
UPHILL BATTLE Women such as the most successful tennis player of our time, Serena Williams, still struggle to get the same treatment and pay as their male counterparts
SITTING PRETTY Men such as Floyd Mayweather are in the pound seats when it comes to remuneration