Wait…How Much More Do Male Athletes Make? – by Jen Blitchok (11)

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Across many industries, the topic of a gender wage gap has come into light. Many believe that it is a real problem that our country is facing, but others aren’t so sure. One field that has a gender wage gap, without any doubt, is professional sports.

With more opportunities for women to play sports professionally in recent years, it has become all the more apparent about the discrepancy between how much men make versus women in this area.  The sport of soccer is a clear example of this. In 2015, the US Women’s National Soccer team won the World Cup. With the title, came a payout of $2 million. Although the women on the team do not just play for the money, they weren’t very satisfied to know what the male winners had earned the previous year. The champions of the 2014 men’s World Cup were given $35 million for their success in the tournament.

“It’s pretty unfair, especially in women’s soccer. It can be very discouraging to younger girls who have dreams of going into professional sports,” says Grandville track and rugby player, Rachel Millett. Many others are in agreement with her. So, why are the current women in sports being paid so much less than their male counterparts?

People who are in not favor of closing the gender wage gap often discuss that women in professional sports do not get paid as much as men because of the number of fans of the game. It is true that many women’s professional games do not get as much attention from the public. You might see a near empty arena at a WNBA game compared to a men’s professional basketball game. Due to the fact that women’s sports do not get as much attention from fans, they will bring in less money to their franchises, and in turn, earn less money. Although this counter argument to the wage gap is fair, the lack of fans is often not because people don’t enjoy watching the games. Many of the professional women’s sports are advertised much less than the men’s side, which doesn’t allow for the word to get out about their games.

Grandville cross country runner and lacrosse player Sydney Spicuzza says,”I think we definitely need to start seeing a change in the wage gap. Even if it starts out slow, there needs to be action to start closing the gap.”

In today’s day and age, there needs to be a change in the wages for these women. Although it will take time and a lot of effort, I believe if more people start pushing for this cause it can start to accumulate more attention and supporters. With the help of more supporters and conversations about the topic, the gender wage gap in professional sports can start to diminish.

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