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

CityPress - - Sport - S’Busiso Mseleku

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.

PHOTO: TANNEN MAURY / EPA

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

PHOTO: ETHAN MILLER / AFP / GETTY IM­AGES

SIT­TING PRETTY Men such as Floyd May­weather are in the pound seats when it comes to re­mu­ner­a­tion

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