Women deserve fair pay, but the money has to come from somewhere

John Gorrie Roar Rookie

By John Gorrie, John Gorrie is a Roar Rookie

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36 Have your say

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    Since the beginning of organised sport, women have scratched, clawed and fought their way to be able to compete at the highest level in their chosen pursuits.

    From the origins of Olympic sport which not only barred women from competing but did not allow them to even attend the Games at all. Not until the 1900 Paris Games were female competitors ‘invited to compete’, much at the behest of Pierre de Coubertin, the instigator of the modern Olympiad.

    In those Games 22 women out of a total of 997 athletes competed in just five sports: tennis, sailing, croquet, equestrian and golf. But only golf and tennis had events for women only.

    It has without question been an uphill battle for women to receive not only recognition and funding to even half the level of their male counterparts, But in some cases they are actively discouraged from participating in sport at all – as a recent UN report into sport equality confirmed.

    So it is unquestionable in the majority of cases the proverbial deck was stacked high and the struggle of those brave women to get equality within the sporting landscape was hard and well fought battle.

    However that was then. This is now.

    The recent success of the Matildas’ World Cup campaign was rightly lauded across the Australian media. Plenty of fans jumped on to support the ‘Girls in Gold’. However, almost like clockwork, the old adage of equal pay rears its head in conjunction with the ‘backslapping’ from the media.

    The members of the ‘Matildas’ World Cup Squad were paid a match fee of $500 per game, Compared to the Socceroos $7,500 per game. Now come the well intentioned media outlets and breakfast TV hosts lamenting the fact that the girls don’t earn enough as their male counterparts.

    Now I see two issues here. Firstly, doesn’t everyone find it a touch derogatory to constantly bring up these points during a run of success? Shouldn’t we be rejoicing in the fact no matter who has been competing they have performed well?

    Would we hear the howls of the equal pay brigade coming out of the woodwork if they had been bundled out in the group stage with back-to-back losses?

    Secondly lets look at the all important numbers. The FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015 was hosted in Canada. The total attendance figures for that tournament were 1,353,506 with an average of 26,029. Television ratings for the final was 25.4 million. Let’s compare this to the Men’s World Cup in Brazil.Total attendance figures were 3,429,873 (53,592 per match), and the TV figures for the final were reputed to be over 1 billion.

    I think the numbers speak for themselves.

    This reality gets lost in the debate far too often. The fact is if the same finances were being generated across women’s sport they should undoubtedly receive the same remuneration. However they don’t.

    In tennis, where equality in pay is a reality, men and women pull in much more equal viewership and finances worthy of the pay both receive in major tournaments.

    However away from the majors where men and women play separately, we see a very different story. The women’s tour has 31 tournaments for a total prize pool of $24.6 million and an average $794,000. Contrast this to the men’s tour which has 51 tournaments with a total prize of $65 million for an average of $1.29 million.

    Let’s draw a line in the sand and say of course we want women in sport and of course the deserve equal pay. However the duly noted and overused arguments every time a disparity in pay is noticed must stop.

    We would do better to not belittle the achievements of our proud female athletes with debates on equal pay and instead focus on the achievements on the pitch. This is the only way to ensure a fair playing field for all.

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    The Crowd Says (36)

    • August 3rd 2015 @ 2:17am
      NTJ said | August 3rd 2015 @ 2:17am | ! Report

      Agreed. You can’t keep arguing for equal pay and expect the money to drop from the sky. It all has to do with sponsorships for these events/tours.

      At the risk of sounding very sexist, I believe sponsors would rather back a higher quality product as they know it would get more viewers. It may not sound fair, but it would be foolish to admit a women’s soccer or tennis match would produce an equal or better product than the men’s equivalent.

      I find it funny, though, that whenever this argument is brought up, Wimbledon is never mentioned; same pay as the men, playing less tennis.

    • August 3rd 2015 @ 2:30am
      Johnno said | August 3rd 2015 @ 2:30am | ! Report

      Women’s tennis is divided into 2-seperate entities the ATP and WTA. 2 different bodies. So there not under the same banner, unlike say FIFA with soccer. The grand slams are ITF events I think, under the same banner hence why prizemoney is the same as men, but could be wrong. Davis cup and Fed Cup are ITF events.

    • Roar Guru

      August 3rd 2015 @ 3:45am
      peeeko said | August 3rd 2015 @ 3:45am | ! Report

      Agree John, i sad the same thing about tennis in an article last year http://www.theroar.com.au/2014/08/20/prize-money-equal-grand-slam-tennis/.

      With regards to the football, the viewing figures are the only relevant stat. the crowd figures mean little, the mens tournament could have been sold out ten fold. the 53k average was severely restricted by stadium size, demand for tickets would be 10x the womens tickets

      • Roar Rookie

        August 3rd 2015 @ 9:18am
        John Gorrie said | August 3rd 2015 @ 9:18am | ! Report

        Great article mate cheers for your reply!

        Yeah I think the fact the stadiums speaks volumes on the demand of the event itself. And like you say demand was so high they couldve filled a stadium 10 times the size

    • August 3rd 2015 @ 4:25am
      Brendon said | August 3rd 2015 @ 4:25am | ! Report

      More watched the womens world cup than the last cricket world cup and only slightly less than the 2011 RWC. Factor in that the womens football world cup has a much higher profile than either cricket or rugby in countries like USA, Canada, Japan and Germany.

      Also, this article has the foul stench of MRA idiocy. Take it to reddit.

      • August 3rd 2015 @ 5:20am
        Nick said | August 3rd 2015 @ 5:20am | ! Report

        how did the women’s cricket world cup rate to the men’s?

        How the women’s rugby World Cup to the men’s?

        Comparing across sports really makes your entire position appear incredibly weak.

        • August 3rd 2015 @ 9:27am
          nordster said | August 3rd 2015 @ 9:27am | ! Report

          sssshhhhh ….he’s being *equal* ….leave your logic at the door please;)

          • Roar Rookie

            August 3rd 2015 @ 11:40am
            John Gorrie said | August 3rd 2015 @ 11:40am | ! Report

            Thanks Norster,

            Very subtle I like it!

            Can you advise what you do not see as a fair viewpoint nor a logical one in my piece?

            Nice comment though I couldn’t have improved on it if I was you.

        • Roar Rookie

          August 3rd 2015 @ 1:15pm
          John Gorrie said | August 3rd 2015 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

          Thanks Nick,

          I would happily include this for you however there is only so much time in the day. If you type into google yourself you will find that they too underrated as a comparison to the Men’s events.

      • Roar Guru

        August 3rd 2015 @ 6:11am
        peeeko said | August 3rd 2015 @ 6:11am | ! Report

        nice one, he writes an article and backs it up with stats and valid points and you call him an idiot. why dont you write something?

        show us your stats that say more people watched the womens world cup than the cricket world cup? the 4 countries you name add up to half that of India

        • August 3rd 2015 @ 12:42pm
          Brendon said | August 3rd 2015 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

          What stats? All I see is numbers without reference and pulled out of the author’s behind.

      • Roar Rookie

        August 3rd 2015 @ 9:37am
        John Gorrie said | August 3rd 2015 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        Cheers Brendon,

        The fact the football world cup was watched by more people than the cricket world cup wouldn’t surprise me.. However I wouldn’t be so sure to believe you without some numbers to the contrary.

        Just wondering where I ever stood up for Men’s rights? Could you elaborate?

        • August 3rd 2015 @ 12:27pm
          Brendon said | August 3rd 2015 @ 12:27pm | ! Report


          As I said, take your MRA/MGTOW stuff to reddit.

          The 2011 RWC got 1,477,294. Only 100,000 more than the womens world cup.

          And its not like football is a big sport in Canada. Ice hockey, Canadian and American football, basketball and baseball would be more popular.

          • Roar Rookie

            August 3rd 2015 @ 12:43pm
            John Gorrie said | August 3rd 2015 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

            Thanks Brendon,

            As a Kiwi myself that’s not a surprise. The stadiums in New Zealand are a quarter of the size of stadiums in Canada so that does not surprise me it only got 100,000 more. considering some stadiums barely fit 15,000 and the largest was a temp stadium in Auckland of 60,000.

            In fact the largest sport for women in Canada is Soccer so im not surprised it was popular. also the viewer numbers came from the majority of US fans tuning in on prime time.

            Thanks again for strengthening my point even if you have done so unintentionally

          • August 4th 2015 @ 6:55am
            fiddlesticks said | August 4th 2015 @ 6:55am | ! Report

            and you can take your acronyms with you? you contribute nothing to the roar, good bye

      • Roar Guru

        August 3rd 2015 @ 10:52am
        Kaks said | August 3rd 2015 @ 10:52am | ! Report


        “According to Telegraph.co.uk, the 6 hour 45 minutes long 2015 Cricket World Cup match between India and Pakistan played on 15 February 2015 was seen by nearly 1 billion people”

        So, one game alone in the CWC almost overtook the figures for the womens world cup.

        the estimate for total views for the 2015 CWC was over 2 billion, just for your information.

        2011 RWC total viewers – 2.4 billion (not slightly more, but double the women’s world cup viewer numbers)

        • August 3rd 2015 @ 12:40pm
          Brendon said | August 3rd 2015 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

          I’ll wear my underpants for a week and then eat them if a billion people watched the India v Pakistan match in Adelaide.


          135 million people in India watched the 2011 final between India and Sri Lanka which was more than the Pakistan v India semi.

          So lets say 135 million Indians watched the GROUP MATCH between India and Pakistan and 65 million Pakistanis (and that is being VERY generous) that is 200 million. Where is the other 800 million coming from?

          Lets say the population of the countries at the 2015 world cup was 2 billion (closer to 1.8 billion but lets say 2billion). You’re saying almost 50% of the population of those countries had access to a TV and chose to watch the game? Really? Think about it. Sure, there are cricket viewers from countries without teams in the cricket world cup but nowhere near enough to get to the billion mark.

          Again, I’ll wear my underpants for a month if the 2011 RWC had 2.4 billion viewers. Put aside the god awful timezone NZ is in for international viewers.

          Is rugby popular in China? No. India? No. USA? No. Indonesia? No. Brazil? No. Nigeria, Bangladesh, Russia? No. Japan? Maybe third most popular team sport. Mexico, Phillipines, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Egpyt, Germany? Nope. Iran, Dem. Rep. Congo, Turkey? No. France 2nd.

          So where are these 2.4 billion viewers coming from? The RWC final would be lucky to get 100 million worldwide.

          • August 3rd 2015 @ 2:39pm
            Dave said | August 3rd 2015 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

            So you’re attempting to de-bunk all of these statistics based on a whole range of assumptions, but you’re quite happy to use similar statistics regarding the Women’s World Cup to support your own points?

            You’re not providing any real substance in your counter-arguments. Whether or not *you* think rugby is popular in any particular country isn’t a viable counter-argument, and the fact that you would claim the RWC wouldn’t even get 100milion worldwide shows how awfully disconnected you are from the reality.

            In fact, some of the stuff you’re saying in this thread Brendon makes me think you’ve been planted here by the original author to simply stir up a bit of controversy, promote Reddit and incite all of these comments ; )

            • August 3rd 2015 @ 4:16pm
              Brendon said | August 3rd 2015 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

              What assumptions? I just proved it was impossible for 1 billion people to watch the India vs Pakistan match. That would require 50% of all people in all the 14 countries of the cricket world cup to watch the game. Impossible.

              You claim I provide no stats yet you can’t even provide one link or statistic except for some reference to a right wing rag in the UK.

              I gave you the actual link that clearly states 135 million people in India watched a world final in their own timezone, not South Australia’s timezone. Ok, lets say 4 years of development in India has increased TV coverage. Lets say 200 million people watched a group match game played in a foreign timezone, where is the other 800 million coming from?

              Even the NFL super bowl in the USA barely draws in 1/3 of all Americans. Even if 1/3 of India and Pakistan watched the group match thats not even 500 million.

              And your reply is nothing but ad hominem attacks. You didn’t refute anything I said.

              “In fact, some of the stuff you’re saying in this thread Brendon makes me think you’ve been planted here by the original author to simply stir up a bit of controversy, promote Reddit and incite all of these comments ; )”

              If I wrote what I thought of you and your intelligence I wouldn’t get this comment posted.

              • Roar Guru

                August 3rd 2015 @ 4:19pm
                Kaks said | August 3rd 2015 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

                Pakistan Population – 182.1 million
                India Population – 1.252 billion
                not to mention strong Indian and Pakistani populations in England, Australia and USA.

                Then we have the rest of the world watching like England, Australia, NZ, SA, Sri Lanka etc.

                Not hard to imagine at all.

              • August 3rd 2015 @ 4:22pm
                Dave said | August 3rd 2015 @ 4:22pm | ! Report

                OK Brendon – thanks for your feedback.

                You seem to have it all worked out so I’ll just leave you to it =)

              • August 4th 2015 @ 9:30pm
                The artist formerly known as Punter said | August 4th 2015 @ 9:30pm | ! Report

                Kaks, I think you need to do your sums again!!!!!

                Based on the fact that every 2nd person watched the game in India, Pakistan, England, Australia, NZ SA, Sri Lanka & even throw in US, you still come up short. But then again it’s a pretty wild assumption that every 2nd person in those countries watched the game.

    • Roar Guru

      August 3rd 2015 @ 10:43am
      Kaks said | August 3rd 2015 @ 10:43am | ! Report

      Depends what you consider as ‘equal pay’

      I have had this argument before on this website, and my view still stands.

      Equal pay, to me, is not about receiving the same money for the same sport ‘just cause’. Equal pay, to me, is Men and Women being paid fairly based on the amount of viewers and revenue they bring to the sport.

      • August 3rd 2015 @ 12:53pm
        Brendon said | August 3rd 2015 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

        Why do you care what the ITF pays its players? The ITF is a private organisation that doesn’t receive government money unlike Australian sports like rugby league and aussie rules that get wads of cash from state and federal governments. But wait, the AFL and NRL “earn” their incomes. (yes, I’m making fun of you)

        Anyway, in WTA events women earn a LOT less than ATP events. So you’re crying about 4 grand slam events?

        • Roar Guru

          August 3rd 2015 @ 1:19pm
          Kaks said | August 3rd 2015 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

          I’m guessing this reply was to someone else, however you seem to have a chip on your shoulder so im going to feed you with more real information to set you over the edge. It’s entertaining to see people like you go crazy 🙂

          “Australian sports like rugby league and aussie rules that get wads of cash from state and federal governments. But wait, the AFL and NRL “earn” their incomes”

          AFL and NRL make their money from TV deals.

          Tennis is the closest in terms of popularity with the women’s and men’s game, and yet the men’s game generates more sponsors, more viewers and more people turn up to watch the men play. On top of that, men play more sets. Is that equal?




          • August 3rd 2015 @ 5:21pm
            Brendon said | August 3rd 2015 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

            As I said the ITF is a private organisation. Why do you care what they pay women in THEIR tournaments? You didn’t answer that question. Its their money. Dont like it? Dont watch any of the slams. If you object to tennis in Australia receiving government money, like Aussie Rules, football, league, union, cricket etc, and dont want the organisers of the Australian Open to pay equal money for men and women then create a movement and protest and lobby to have the Australian Open moved to another country or that the organisers lower the prize money for women. That is your right but good luck with that. I’m sure China would love to get a grand slam and be happy to pay women and men the same amount of money. I’m sure you’ll make a lot of people happy with your demands that the Australian Open pay women less or that another country get our grand slam event. You can also lobby the sponsors of the grand slams to encourage them to stop sponsoring the 4 slams unless the ITF and the organisers stop paying women equal prize money.

            But I doubt you will. I’m guessing you and your type with your passive aggressive misogyny will just stick to crying and complaining on the internet. Oh, wait, this isn’t anti-women at all! Sure … and the American civil war was about “state’s rights” and not about slavery. Spare me your weasel words. Heard them all before.

            Three of the four WTA Premier Mandatory are part of the same tournament as 3 of the 9 ATP Masters 1000 tournaments. The exception is the China Open which is only a 500 tournament for men. In two of those 3 tournaments men and women get the same prizemoney and at Indian Wells women actually get more than the men. The 4th WTA Premier Mandatory is a mens 500 tournament, not a 1000 tournament, in China and the womens prize money is double that of the men. Many of the WTA Premier 5 share a tournament with ATP Master 1000 tournament and obviously they earn less.

            Interestingly enough the Masters 1000 ATP events that share the tournament with the 3 WTA Premier Mandatory events also have more prize money (for men) than men only Masters 1000 tournaments.

            Also, the WTA Tour Finals has total prize money of US$6,500,000 which is the exact same at the mens ATP World Tour Finals yet they are held separately. I’ll let that sink in … equal prize money BUT played separately.

            But overall the WTA has less big tournaments and therefore less money but Serena Willliams still has an estimated net worth by Forbes of US$130,000,000. Equal pay at slams or not that is a lot of money.

            • Roar Rookie

              August 3rd 2015 @ 5:41pm
              John Gorrie said | August 3rd 2015 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

              Cheers Brendon,

              Apologies mate have you read my piece? Im not sure what you are arguing about? You simply keep reiterating my points?

              I asked you earlier to point out where I was being misogynistic? So far I am yet to hear a conclusive reply

              I look forward to your no doubt calm and measured response.

            • Roar Guru

              August 3rd 2015 @ 6:31pm
              Kaks said | August 3rd 2015 @ 6:31pm | ! Report

              LOL what are you on about

            • August 4th 2015 @ 6:59am
              fiddlesticks said | August 4th 2015 @ 6:59am | ! Report

              you have in one strip of comments become the biggest waste of space on the roar, congratulations

    • Columnist

      August 4th 2015 @ 4:07pm
      Megan Maurice said | August 4th 2015 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

      John, you seem to labour under the illusion that you are the first person to come up with such brilliance on this topic. Do you honestly think no one has ever had this thought before? Do you think it isn’t brought up by millions of men every time the topic is raised, as if the suggestion is that the money for the female athletes is to come out of their own pockets?

      You are only scratching the surface of this issue and don’t appear to have asked the question “Why is this the case?” with regards to viewer numbers. If you are as predictable as you seem, you will earnestly tell me that men’s sport is of a higher quality and that people don’t want to watch “inferior” sport. However, as has been discussed many times before, if this was the case, no one would watch the A-League, or a clash between two lower placed teams in the AFL for example.

      Women’s sport has historically been designated as second class and it will take some bravery at the top to change that. Women’s sports are resourced poorly due to lack of funds, which becomes a vicious cycle where teams operating on low budgets with low paid staff are unable to compete with the well-funded men’s sports.

      Yes, the money has to come from somewhere and that is why we are fighting for things to change, so the money does come. We bring it up to raise awareness of the fact that this happens, so more people will be be aware that the sport even exists and tune in. Which in turn will attract better broadcasting deals, which in turn will attract more sponsorship dollars.

      And no, it is not derogatory to bring up the fact that women earn far less than their male counterparts. What is derogatory is “rejoicing in the fact no matter who has been competing they have performed well” as you suggest. We need to strive for better, not accept what we have.

      Things are slowly changing, but they won’t unless we keep talking about it and refuse to let this issue be pushed into the background. The more professional women’s sport becomes, the more talent we will uncover and the better quality it will be. Think about how many women who couldn’t afford to take time off from working have been deterred from following the path of elite sport and imagine how much better it could be if everyone who had the talent to make it to the top level had the means to as well.

      • Roar Rookie

        August 5th 2015 @ 1:01pm
        John Gorrie said | August 5th 2015 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

        Hi Megan,

        Cheers for your reply. I appreciate you taking the time to give me your thoughts.. And as it appears you have not quite understood the purpose of my article I will attempt to tackle your points raised.

        It would be Mawkish of me to suggest I am the first one to ever consider this prospect and I have never claimed that to be the case. I have of course heard this argument regularly and as I’m sure you would appreciate felt compelled to add my opinion on the matter.

        As you seem to ”predictably” suggest that I have a Male superiority complex involved in my thoughts on the matter I will attempt to clarify.

        I went out of my way in this article to research on why women’s sport has been considered inferior, As you correctly pointed out. ”Women’s sport has historically been designated as second class” So it would seem we agree and thank you for pointing out one of my arguments raised. I personally would love to see more women’s sport at a higher level and this was the intended nature of my piece.

        The obvious question is why is this the case? I chose to look into the financial realities of this issue which is merely a statement of fact. this was not intended to prove the superiority of male sports. Other points raised about the how and why was the purpose of this. Stir up debate on why this is the case and look at this from a different angle.

        Having a slanging match about whether or not I am Misogynistic (as has been suggested very thinly by yourself) I believe strengthens my final point of moving past the duly noted arguments and obvious notions that they are paid less. This does not fix the how or why. It merely mires the debate into farcical tit for tat name calling.

        And this is priceley what I mean when this is only brought up when they are doing well and not more often which should be the case. As the title suggests they deserve equal pay.. but something cannot be forced through on a political angle. as I stated let the sport speak for itself and the crowds will come much like UFC Champion Ronda Rousey There was no debate about her gender, There was no debate about her pay. she quite simply fought her way to the top. However by telling people you must enjoy this because its ‘mysoginistic say otherwise or muse about the real intention of someone writing an article on the matter is simply now as far as Im concerned a dead argument that is beneath you.


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