The Issue of Gender Wage Gap in Professional Sports

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The Issue of Gender Wage Gap in Professional Sports essay
Important: This sample is for inspiration and reference only

Keywords: Gender wage gap, Professional sports, Pay disparity, Gender discrimination, Athlete salaries, Women in sports, Equal pay

On average, women in the workplace are paid only three-quarters of every dollar to their male counterparts (Corrigall-Brown, 2016). The gender pay gap exists beyond salaries and into bonuses and profit sharing (CBC News, 2019). Canadian women received on average $4000 in bonuses and profit-sharing compared to men at an average of $6000 (CBC News, 2019). The gender pay gap is seen throughout offices and workplaces in Canada and the rest of the world. However, this issue extends beyond the workplace. The issue of the gender pay gap is apparent in professional sports where women make far less than their male counterparts.

Professional basketball is a great example of the gender pay gap that exists within professional sports. The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA, hereafter), is arguably the highest paying women’s sports league in North America (Yuille, 2019), and yet they pay only a fraction of what their male counterparts in the National Basketball Association (NBA, hereafter) are paid. In 2017, the WNBA MVP Sylvia Fowles was paid a salary of $109, 000 while her male counterpart - 2017 NBA MVP Russel Westbrook was paid a salary of 28. 5 million (Hill, 2019). The gender wage gap is consistent amongst MVPs and first-year players or rookies. WNBA rookies were paid on average $41, 000 in 2018 (Yuille, 2019) while rookies in the NBA made about $560, 000 in 2018 (Yuille, 2019). This data clearly expresses the gender wage gap in professional basketball. Professional soccer is another example of the wage gap in professional sports. The United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT, hereafter) was awarded 2 million dollars for winning the 2015 World Cup (Shalby, 2015). However, in the 2014 World Cup, the USA men’s team was knocked out in the Round of 16 three rounds before the finals and yet, they were still awarded 8 million dollars (Shalby, 2015). The gender wage gap in professional sports is an ongoing issue that sees data that promotes men who are very successful and devalues the play of women.

Why are professional female athletes facing the gender wage gap? Most of the money in professional sports arises from TV viewership and sponsors, something women sports lacks. The Guardian notes “women don’t receive the same sponsorships from TV and stadium advertising” (Alvarez, 2019). Earlier this year, the USWNT filed a lawsuit against The USA Soccer Federation because the women’s team wasn’t marketed or promoted the same way the men's team was (Alvarez, 2019). The suit focused on the promotion of games and events that the women’s team took part in (Alvarez, 2019). The USA soccer federation agreed to promote the women’s game the same way they promoted the men’s games (Alvarez, 2019). Poor marketing and advertising lead to lower attendance and merchandise sales which adversely impact revenue especially for women’s sports (Alvarez, 2019). In 2019, the USWNT won their second consecutive world cup. The 2019 women’s world cup final between USA and Netherlands saw 14. 3 million viewers from America tune in (Hess, 2019), compared to the 11. 4 million viewers that tuned in for the men's world cup final in 2018 (Hess, 2019). People want to watch women’s sports. The theory that people are not interested in women's sports is false.

While women's professional teams are struggling to gain sponsorships, male teams are thriving. Male professional teams get sponsors from all over the world who pay top dollar to have their names associated with teams. Rakuten, an Asia based brand, agreed to a three year 60-million-dollar deal to be the jersey sponsor of the NBA team - The Golden State Warriors (Alpeyev, 2019). The Rakuten logo patch on the Warriors jersey is no bigger than the palm of your hand or 2. 5 inches (6. 35 centimeters) and yet is still worth 60 million dollars (Alpeyev, 2019). Rakuten is just one example of big brands throwing money at male professional sports teams. As large sums of money are being spent to sponsor men's basketball currently very little sponsorship money is going into women’s basketball.

Women are deserving of equal pay and shouldn’t be looked upon differently for their gender. Liberal Feminism focuses on the injustices that exist and the equal opportunity that should be provided for all (Corrigall-Brown, 2016). In the case of professional sports, women are prevented from the same opportunities in terms of wealth and salary. A feminist theorist would look at the inequalities for women in society to understand the gender wage gap (Corrigall-Brown, 2016). As we were taught by professor Daisy-Mae Hamelinck, “the theoretical perspectives all give us insight into sociology but not one perspective is better. ” Along with feminist theory, social conflict theory can be applied to the gender wage gap. Social conflict theory has everything to do with conflict between groups based on power and inequality. Then gender wage gap is just that. According to Catherine Corrigall-Brown, social conflict theory is “Individuals and groups have more power than others and the struggle of power is a key element of social life (Corrigal-Brown, 2016). ” Professional women athletes and in a constant fight with society and front offices for equal pay.

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A solution to the gender wage gap is having brands support the gender pay gap. Brands like Budweiser use social media and other platforms to push for equal pay in professional sports (Label, 2019). This was done in the 2019 Women’s World Cup when brands supported the USWNT. Luna Bar was able to pay out bonuses of US$ 31, 250 to each member of the USWNT (Label, 2019). Secret Deodorant donated $529, 000 to the USWNT through their “Be on the right side of history” campaign (Label, 2019). Budweiser was the first company to sponsor the USWNT with the “Won’t Stop Watching” campaign (Label, 2019). The idea that companies should sponsor women’s sports doesn’t have to be about making money, it simply put can be about being on the right side of history. This solution provides professional women sports with more money and companies like Budweiser, a better image for their brand. Another solution to the gender wage gap is via the process of education and awareness. The gender pay gap exists due to gender biases rooted in society. A study by Dr. Gwen Sharp proved that there are underlying gender biases that exist within our society (Pages, 2012). The results of the study found that both male and female professors would pay the female applicant nearly four thousand dollars less than the male counterpart despite an identical application (Pages, 2012). This study only furthers the argument that education and awareness are solutions to the gender wage gap. Courses like, Gender Studies and Sociology 1027A both educate students on the inequalities that exist within society. Education allows for individuals to understand underlying gender biases. If we as a society want to eliminate the gender wage gap everywhere, it starts by unlearning the gender biases we’ve known our whole life.

The issue of the gender pay gap in professional sports is evident as women make far less than their male counterparts. We see the gender pay exists in all women's professional sports. The WNBA has much lower salaries than their male counterparts in the NBA. The issue continues within women’s soccer, where the USWNT faces gender biases from their superiors in the USA Soccer Federation. These gender biases led to poor funding and sponsorship for the women’s team. On the other hand, male professional teams like the Golden State Warriors can thrive from sponsorships and adverts. When it comes to sociology, conflict theorists believe the gender wage gap is a product of the inequalities that exist within society and the constant battle for power. The solution to the gender wage gap is to educate and sponsor professional women’s sports. The gender wage gap in professional sports is an issue of inequality that continues to plague through society.

On average, women in the workplace are paid only three-quarters of every dollar to their male counterparts (Corrigall-Brown, 2016). The gender pay gap exists beyond salaries and into bonuses and profit sharing (CBC News, 2019). Canadian women received on average $4000 in bonuses and profit-sharing compared to men at an average of $6000 (CBC News, 2019). The gender pay gap is seen throughout offices and workplaces in Canada and the rest of the world. However, this issue extends beyond the workplace. The issue of the gender pay gap is apparent in professional sports where women make far less than their male counterparts.

Professional basketball is a great example of the gender pay gap that exists within professional sports. The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA, hereafter), is arguably the highest paying women’s sports league in North America (Yuille, 2019), and yet they pay only a fraction of what their male counterparts in the National Basketball Association (NBA, hereafter) are paid. In 2017, the WNBA MVP Sylvia Fowles was paid a salary of $109, 000 while her male counterpart - 2017 NBA MVP Russel Westbrook was paid a salary of 28. 5 million (Hill, 2019). The gender wage gap is consistent amongst MVPs and first-year players or rookies. WNBA rookies were paid on average $41, 000 in 2018 (Yuille, 2019) while rookies in the NBA made about $560, 000 in 2018 (Yuille, 2019). This data clearly expresses the gender wage gap in professional basketball. Professional soccer is another example of the wage gap in professional sports. The United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT, hereafter) was awarded 2 million dollars for winning the 2015 World Cup (Shalby, 2015). However, in the 2014 World Cup, the USA men’s team was knocked out in the Round of 16 three rounds before the finals and yet, they were still awarded 8 million dollars (Shalby, 2015). The gender wage gap in professional sports is an ongoing issue that sees data that promotes men who are very successful and devalues the play of women.

Why are professional female athletes facing the gender wage gap? Most of the money in professional sports arises from TV viewership and sponsors, something women sports lacks. The Guardian notes “women don’t receive the same sponsorships from TV and stadium advertising” (Alvarez, 2019). Earlier this year, the USWNT filed a lawsuit against The USA Soccer Federation because the women’s team wasn’t marketed or promoted the same way the men's team was (Alvarez, 2019). The suit focused on the promotion of games and events that the women’s team took part in (Alvarez, 2019). The USA soccer federation agreed to promote the women’s game the same way they promoted the men’s games (Alvarez, 2019). Poor marketing and advertising lead to lower attendance and merchandise sales which adversely impact revenue especially for women’s sports (Alvarez, 2019). In 2019, the USWNT won their second consecutive world cup. The 2019 women’s world cup final between USA and Netherlands saw 14. 3 million viewers from America tune in (Hess, 2019), compared to the 11. 4 million viewers that tuned in for the men's world cup final in 2018 (Hess, 2019). People want to watch women’s sports. The theory that people are not interested in women's sports is false.

While women's professional teams are struggling to gain sponsorships, male teams are thriving. Male professional teams get sponsors from all over the world who pay top dollar to have their names associated with teams. Rakuten, an Asia based brand, agreed to a three year 60-million-dollar deal to be the jersey sponsor of the NBA team - The Golden State Warriors (Alpeyev, 2019). The Rakuten logo patch on the Warriors jersey is no bigger than the palm of your hand or 2. 5 inches (6. 35 centimeters) and yet is still worth 60 million dollars (Alpeyev, 2019). Rakuten is just one example of big brands throwing money at male professional sports teams. As large sums of money are being spent to sponsor men's basketball currently very little sponsorship money is going into women’s basketball.

Women are deserving of equal pay and shouldn’t be looked upon differently for their gender. Liberal Feminism focuses on the injustices that exist and the equal opportunity that should be provided for all (Corrigall-Brown, 2016). In the case of professional sports, women are prevented from the same opportunities in terms of wealth and salary. A feminist theorist would look at the inequalities for women in society to understand the gender wage gap (Corrigall-Brown, 2016). As we were taught by professor Daisy-Mae Hamelinck, “the theoretical perspectives all give us insight into sociology but not one perspective is better. ” Along with feminist theory, social conflict theory can be applied to the gender wage gap. Social conflict theory has everything to do with conflict between groups based on power and inequality. Then gender wage gap is just that. According to Catherine Corrigall-Brown, social conflict theory is “Individuals and groups have more power than others and the struggle of power is a key element of social life (Corrigal-Brown, 2016). ” Professional women athletes and in a constant fight with society and front offices for equal pay.

A solution to the gender wage gap is having brands support the gender pay gap. Brands like Budweiser use social media and other platforms to push for equal pay in professional sports (Label, 2019). This was done in the 2019 Women’s World Cup when brands supported the USWNT. Luna Bar was able to pay out bonuses of US$ 31, 250 to each member of the USWNT (Label, 2019). Secret Deodorant donated $529, 000 to the USWNT through their “Be on the right side of history” campaign (Label, 2019). Budweiser was the first company to sponsor the USWNT with the “Won’t Stop Watching” campaign (Label, 2019). The idea that companies should sponsor women’s sports doesn’t have to be about making money, it simply put can be about being on the right side of history. This solution provides professional women sports with more money and companies like Budweiser, a better image for their brand. Another solution to the gender wage gap is via the process of education and awareness. The gender pay gap exists due to gender biases rooted in society. A study by Dr. Gwen Sharp proved that there are underlying gender biases that exist within our society (Pages, 2012). The results of the study found that both male and female professors would pay the female applicant nearly four thousand dollars less than the male counterpart despite an identical application (Pages, 2012). This study only furthers the argument that education and awareness are solutions to the gender wage gap. Courses like, Gender Studies and Sociology 1027A both educate students on the inequalities that exist within society. Education allows for individuals to understand underlying gender biases. If we as a society want to eliminate the gender wage gap everywhere, it starts by unlearning the gender biases we’ve known our whole life.

The issue of the gender pay gap in professional sports is evident as women make far less than their male counterparts. We see the gender pay exists in all women's professional sports. The WNBA has much lower salaries than their male counterparts in the NBA. The issue continues within women’s soccer, where the USWNT faces gender biases from their superiors in the USA Soccer Federation. These gender biases led to poor funding and sponsorship for the women’s team. On the other hand, male professional teams like the Golden State Warriors can thrive from sponsorships and adverts. When it comes to sociology, conflict theorists believe the gender wage gap is a product of the inequalities that exist within society and the constant battle for power. The solution to the gender wage gap is to educate and sponsor professional women’s sports. The gender wage gap in professional sports is an issue of inequality that continues to plague through society.

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Expert Review
The essay offers a comprehensive exploration of the gender wage gap in professional sports, effectively analyzing various examples and underlying causes. The student demonstrates a deep understanding of the issue's complexity and its impact on different sports leagues. The incorporation of sociological theories, such as Liberal Feminism and Social Conflict Theory, adds depth to the analysis. The solutions proposed, including brand support and education, are well-reasoned and innovative. The essay is well-structured and presents a clear argument supported by relevant data. To enhance the analysis, the student could further delve into the societal implications of closing the gender wage gap and consider counterarguments to provide a more well-rounded perspective.
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What can be improved
Societal Implications: Discuss how closing the gender wage gap in professional sports could influence broader societal attitudes towards gender equality. Counterarguments: Address potential counterarguments to the proposed solutions, showcasing a balanced consideration of different perspectives. Global Perspective: Consider discussing the gender wage gap in professional sports on a global scale to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the issue's extent.
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The Issue of Gender Wage Gap in Professional Sports essay

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