Gender Pay Gap In Sports


If you are a working woman, gender-pay-gap is something you have probably learnt to live with. There is only so much one can do, right? But sometimes we must keep fighting, a lot of battles before we eventually win the war someday. Gender-pay-gap exists in every sphere of life as we know it. It is a blatant reality, a shameful reality. It is a reality where women are on the receiving end, unfortunately, make it more personal. Gender Pay Gap exists in sports too.


Today, I want to share with you one such story where gender-pay-gap fuelled an epic fightback which in many ways is still on. But before that, to the women who think gender-pay-gap doesn’t exist because you are paid well (and I know there are many for they let me know everytime I speak of it), think again. When you are the exception, it’s an anomaly and sadly not a rule. It’s turning this anomaly into a rule which is the goal.


Did you know Gender Pay Gap exists in sports too?


Gender Pay Gap in Sports



Then 29-year-old Billie Jean King defeats a 55-year-old Bobby Riggs in an exhibition match termed as the Battle of the Sexes which stems from the pay gap that existed in the prize money for male and female tennis players. It is significant because it was instrumental in the US Open rolling out pay parity in that very year.


However, just a year before that Billie Jean King actually earned only 40% of what the male champion earned on winning the same tournament. In fact, a few years earlier Margaret Court won a Grand Slam and received only a $15,000 bonus, whereas the men could achieve up to $1 million? This and various other events such this lead finally to the formation of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and to the debate around the variance in prize money for male and female tennis players. Of course, in 1973 the US Open did away with the gender pay gap but it took a long time for the other major tennis grand slam tournaments to do the same. The Australian Open did the same in 2001, the French Open in 2006 and finally Wimbledon in the year 2007 (source).


But there are still miles to go before this issue is settled in every sport.


Did you know that the highest-paid male tennis professional, Novak Djokovic, has taken home $108.8 million but won only 12 grand slam titles? Now the top-earning Serena Williams has only pocketed some $81.7 million in prize money since the start of her career with a record 39 grand slam titles. See the gender-pay-gap? (Source here)


I can’t even begin to imagine what might be the gender pay gap when it comes to the men’s and women’s cricket team in India. But looks like while the male players in Grade C category earn Rs 1 crore per annum, the female players – even after being in Grade A – are restricted to just Rs 50 lakhs. So, gender-pay-gap is a reality in sports too. Apparently, our best grade is only equal to the worst in males.


Of course, there are misogynists who argue that men’s sports have the biggest draw. more advertisements and greater returns. Why Djokovic is among those claiming men should “fight for more” because privilege is their right on account of their anatomy, right! But here’s the thing, the best venus, broadcasters and investment in every sport seem to be perpetually booked for the men. Question is, why isn’t the same done for women’s sports too? Put in equal investment and then argue based on returns.


Did you know Gender Pay Gap exists in sports too? #Sports #GenderPayGap #FeministMondays Click To Tweet


Play fair. If it’s the same sports, pay the players equally. If it’s the same tournament, pay the players equally and not deal women a bad hand because of their gender.


“Legislators, priests, philosophers, writers, and scientists have striven to show that the subordinate position of woman is willed in heaven and advantageous on earth.”

― Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex


Women are not inferior or less deserving. It’s just that years and years of apathy and lack of equal opportunity has led us to a point when we have to prove that we are deserving of an equal opportunity. We now stand at a point in human history when we have to justify taking what is rightfully ours because our anatomy has been promoted as weak and secondary, thereby less deserving by another of the same species whose virility remains permanently attached to women remaining below par.


So, the fact is the battle of the sexes is still going on in sports, at work and in life. Question is, are you rooting for the side that deserves to win? Remember, every step and every word of support counts, even those touted as insignificant.


Gender Pay Gap In Sports. #GenderPayGap #GirlBoss #LadyBoss #Women





This post is part of the #FeministMondays series (previously called #IAmAFeminist series) on the blog. Inspired by a TEDx talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – We Should All Be Feminists, I intend to talk about the need for feminism through my posts, posts on my experience and observation as a female. I intend to talk about issues concerning women.

Join me and let’s work towards a world of gender parity. Remember, each voice counts. Tell me your story.




22 thoughts on “Gender Pay Gap In Sports”

  1. Wooohh. I didn’t about gender pay gap. But it’s nice you brought this one out

  2. Oh yes, I had read about the gap in pay for gender for Tennis some time back. We already know the situation for cricket. Is it there for athletics as well? I guess just like in other spheres like movies, professional work etc. here also women are getting paid lower than the males. As your rightly said, no reason to do so.

  3. This saddens me. The Indian women’s cricket team is the perfect example for this. I’m sure they have to put in more effort and energy to attain that level of fitness and yet they are paid so less when compared to their male counterparts.

    Serena Williams is such an inspiration and seeing that 39 slams haven’t even gotten her close to Djoko’s 12 just breaks my heart! Sport should be about equality! Come on, how hard is it?
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  4. It was my first to heard about gender pay gap. I felt sad about this, I agree that if it is in same sports, tthe players should be paid equally. 🙁

  5. The ongoing gender inequality of pay as an issue is sports is a real shame. Progress has been so slow… I watched the related movie about Billie Jean King. Thanks for shining your spotlight on it. Hopefully, with enough attention and involvement, we can put this behind us someday.

  6. The gender gap in sport is honestly something shameful. It is so big, bigger than in any other industry! and you are right, they are not inferior or less deserving! they are just as good so deserve the same!

  7. This is sad that it is still a thing. I am sure the men have their reasons to why they are being paid more but their thinking is wrong.

  8. I read that Simone de Beauvoir quote and remember reading that book in college! There is still a long way to go for pay equality in sports and all other professions, that’s for sure.

  9. This is my first time to read about it and this issue makes really sad because every athlete spend a lot of time to good in what their doing and I think they should have received an equal or even fair pay for their efforts.

  10. Wow, I didn’t know such issue exists. But base on what I do know, people must be equally treated,no matter the gender or age.

  11. I know that the gender pay gap exists in sports probably bigger than in any other aspect of life. I think it’s hard to account for that unless you put the pay of all the leagues together and then dole out pay to each league. Because in general, men’s leagues take in more money than women’s leagues. More people pay to see those matches and more sponsors pay because more people are at them. Maybe this shouldn’t be but it is. And so trying to change the pay structure will be a more difficult challenge there if you want equal pay for sports.
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  12. Of course it exists everywhere. It is a sad reality we must fight to change.

  13. Its so disheartening to know where the world is screaming on top of their voices fighting for gender equality, pay in areas such as sports as well as in films too , sees a difference in pay. Its just not done.
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  14. it is saddening, inequality is everywhere !!! thank you for sharing this eye-opening post

  15. It’s such a shame and so frustrating that gender pay gap is still an issue and has taken so long to be openly discussed. I don’t think there is any reason as to why a man deserves more money if he is doing the exact same job as a woman

  16. This is a tough topic… I totally agreed with the pay gap issue to be same/fair…. I do think there are so much grey areas we all need to discuss in order to move forward in this.

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