Women face inequalities in sports

Jazzy Nguyen, Staff Writer

Women face unequal treatment and pay in sports. In almost all professional tournaments, female athletes are paid a fraction of what their male counterparts make. This disparity appears in early on. According to the American Association of University Women, girls are given 1.3 million fewer opportunities to compete in high school athletics than boys. The main reason that they cite for the gap is the lack of funds and coaches for girls. This prompts the unspoken question of why female sports are cut, instead of having an equal division of funds for both genders.

The gap widens as athletes apply for college. In a report from CNN, men are given around $190 million more than women in collegiate athletic scholarships and 63,000 more spots to participate in sports. The millions of women who are unable to afford to play college sports will have a much harder time getting picked up by clubs and furthering their athletic career. Those who are able to obtain one of the few spots in high-level sports encounter more inequality later on.

In the highest level of play in the world, the inequality is even more apparent. The men’s French national soccer team, this year’s World Cup champions, took home $38 million, or $1.7 million per player, which did not include the large bonuses they earned from the number of goals scored and games played.

In contrast, the 2015 U.S. Women’s National Team became world champions in a historic match against Japan. They received no bonuses for the number of games played or goals scored. The money they received as a team was just $2 million, which averages out to just $86,975 per player.

In addition to the issue of pay, women are forced to compete in second-class conditions. In 2015, the women’s World Cup in Canada was played on a rubber turf field, rather than grass, unthinkable at that elite level. FIFA, the governing international soccer body, said that limited venues forced their hand on stadium conditions. Had this been the men’s tournament, hosting the competition on rubber grass would have been rejected.

Artificial turf is a much harder surface to play on. It lessens the ease of ball control, is a breeding ground for bacteria, and can trigger asthma. Receiving a burn from turf makes athletes seven times more likely to develop infections such as MRSA.

Many people argue that women are paid less and given fewer opportunities in sports because they generate less interest from the audience, which is not always true. The New York Times reported that the 2015 Women’s World Cup championship game was the most watched soccer match in U.S. history.

It is unfortunate how women can make millions less than men for doing the same job, putting in the same work, and just as much effort.