This past year, women have made several steps of progress towards equality, the glaring aspect of inequality in the salary of female athletes in comparison to male athletes still looms over.
Over the past years, several female athletes have spoken against the large disparity in pay between them and their male counterparts. Most recently United States Women's National Team’s discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. The U.S. Women’s Team argued against the fact that despite the intense amount of work that they put on the field to compete at a high level against the world, their pay is less than that of the males who put in the same amount of work. In the lawsuit members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team stated that in a typical year the team could earn a maximum salary of $99,000 if they played and won 20 games. In comparison the Men’s Team could earn a maximum salary of $263,320 if they played and won the same number of games. The case did not end in favor of the U.S. Women’s National Team, the sentiments of those athletes is echoed in other female sports such as the WNBA.
The common sentiment for those against the pay raise is that it is not a financially sound move. The argument is that the WNBA and U.S. Women’s Soccer Team does not generate enough revenue to see a large increase in pay to rival that of their male counterparts. As of 2019, the NBA produced a total revenue of $7.6 million in comparison to the WNBA which only produced $60 million. The overwhelming difference in revenue coincided with the difference in the average salary for each league. The average salary for NBA plates was $6.4 million, while the average salary for WNBA players was $71,635. The viewership and attendance were both higher for the NBA then for WNBA as well.
The way I see it, America's money plays a huge part in the decisions that are made. While it is true that revenue is greater in the NBA than the WNBA, the ticket sales for the US Women’s National Soccer team was greater than that of the US Men’s National Soccer Team. Although I understand that it is true that it is hard to pay people when there is no money to give, I believe that the hard work that professional female athletes go through should be compensated justly. I also do not believe in the validity of the argument of comparing the male athletes versus female athletes and who would win. The argument is not over who would be better, but it is over the physical toll that it takes on the body and anybody who has played a sport would agree that it is stressful on the body.
The question has to be asked about how much can be contributed to exposure to professional women's sports. The NBA has constant advertisement and regular schedule while the WNBA lacks in both departments and does not regularly have a spot during primetime on ESPN for more people to be exposed to them. I can’t help but believe that if we increase the exposure and advertisement of professional women’s sports that there would be an increase in revenue. One thing is for certain, that is the hard work of these women cannot and should not be underestimated. They should receive way more compensation than what they currently have because the work that they put in is on another level.