The issue of gender inequality in the world of football has once again come to the fore. On Sunday, after the U.S. women’s national soccer team won the World Cup championship in a 2-0 victory against the Netherlands, fans began showing their support in a different way, by calling for “equal pay” from the stands. The crowd began chanting as Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, took the stage.
The triumph marks the fourth title for the U.S. women’s team while the men’s team has absolutely zero. And yet, the women earn significantly less than their male counterparts.
According to reports, the total prize money for the 2018 men’s World Cup was $400 million, while this year, the women will receive $30 million, which was doubled from last year. Though Infantino said they would again double the women’s total prize money to $60 million in 2023, the captain of the women’s world cup winning team, Megan Rapinoe, was not satisfied with the answer.
“It certainly is not fair, We should double it now and then use that number to double it or quadruple it for the next time,” she said during a press conference prior to the final.
In 2017, a salary survey released by sporting intelligence highlighted the true extent of gender inequality in football. The survey revealed that the wage gap in football is larger than that seen in business, politics and medicine.
Many football fans and players alike, however, believe that the wage gap isn’t evidence of corruption in the game, but instead highlights the astronomical difference in popularity.
The huge difference in attendance has had a major impact on the financial state of both sports, with the women’s game once again ending up on the suffering side. In my opinion, this is probably the chief reason for the wage gap between men and women footballers.
It is even much worse in African football, where the men barely pull the kind of crowd they’d like, and many just don’t see football as a woman’s thing over here. This our Nigeria where you will see someone who has never stepped out of Ogwashi Uku chanting “You’ll never waaaaaalk aloooooone! Liverpool FC till I die mehn!”
Sometimes, many people are not even aware when the Super Falcons (of Nigeria) are having a match. It’s that pathetic.
Until the women’s games begin to pull as much crowd as the men’s, I don’t foresee them bridging the wage gap. However, perhaps it is time to lean on the government to spend more time advertising and giving visibility to our athletes. People cannot come to matches they don’t know about. People cannot start to know and support players and teams if there is no TV coverage of matches and highlights. We cannot ask women to magically pull crowds when we do not support their sport. Let’s do better. It’s a beautiful game.
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