Gender Inequality in Football

If you’re looking for examples of gender equality, there are of course many places too look.  In the UK where there are fairly strict equality laws, it’s not difficult to find in most industries some examples of gender imbalance particularly when it comes to pay.

However, if you want to find some hugely striking examples then it’s best to look outside the mainstream roles and start looking at pay differences in entertainment and sport.   These areas have always been problematic simply because it can easily be argued that differences in pay are down to talent or demand.  The BBC has recently just suffered lots of bad publicity in regards to the salaries it pays leading female journalists compared with their male counterparts.

There is no doubt that these imbalances are much more highlighted in high profile areas like this with women rarely earning as much as men in most sports and entertainment.  Take for example the sport of football (soccer for US readers) and you’ll see an example of this disparity.  The top level in the UK is the Women’s Super League, where 88% of the players earn under £18000 a year and where many are considering quitting the game due to the financial pressure.  The UK players however are the lucky ones, whereas in the rest of the world over half of the top player receive no payments at all.

Now  of course if you sit enjoying watching Match of the Day live on your computer using this method, and see the multi million pound players from the Premiership there is an obvious retort to this situation.  The simple fact is that the women’s game is nowhere near as popular as the men’s game  and as such can explain the pay disparity.

There is of course some truth to this but it does show how little effort has been made to pay women a decent wage and develop the sport commercially for them.  There seems very little evidence of trying to ensure that females who play football professional receive a decent wage.   There are a select few of course who do make decent money but they’re definitely the exception not the rule.

Furthermore a recent report from Fifpro of 3500 members found that only 1% of the female players where mothers. Which strongly suggests that not enough is being done to support or encourage women who have or would like children into the sport. No-one is suggesting that women should suddenly get parity in the football world as the commercial disparities are obvious however the attitude of those promoting the sport seem way behind other sectors.  Many feel that too little is being done to encourage gender equality in the sport of football compared to things like tennis and golf for example.

John Williams

Author of Is Selincro a Wonder Drug?