09 Nov An increasing number of women in sport improvements in all areas, but still work to do
The place of women in sport is growing. We are already very far from the first Olympic Games of the modern era, which barred the participation of women in 1896. Little by little, women have taken their place in an essentially male world. In 2017, we find women’s teams in the large professional networks. Take Europe for example where most major soccer clubs have their female counterparts playing in the first division. The same is true of the NBA (National Basketball Association) which in 1996 created the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association), a professional league for women. The advancement of these professional teams gives women the opportunity to progress and make a living while doing what they enjoy—which was virtually impossible a few decades ago. We are also seeing more women referees and sports commentators on different media networks around the world.
On the other hand, there are still disparities and inequalities between men and women in sport. The US women’s soccer team made headlines in 2016, opposing wage differences between men and women. Five players accused the United States Soccer Federation of discrimination. It must be said that the United States women’s soccer team is one of the most successful in women’s soccer: three times World Cup champions, four times Olympic Games champions and currently ranked second at world level. In comparison, the men have a hard time qualifying for some World Cups (and won’t be at the next event in Russia in 2018) and have not had any results during their appearances at the Olympics. It is estimated that the US Soccer Federation grants a bonus of $75,000 to each member of the women’s team for World Cup wins, while on the men’s side, the expected victory bonus is approximately $425,000 per player.
In addition to inequity between women’s and men’s clubs in the same country, this disparity also exists at the international federation level. In 2015, the US women’s team received $2 million from FIFA (International Federation of Football Associations) after winning the last World Cup, while the men’s team in Germany received $35 million in 2014.
Although women have gained a lot of ground in the world of sport, there is still room for improvement to equity in financial recognition and many other aspects.