Gap in prize money for men and women is closing

Photo: hallison97photo/Flickr

Photo: hallison97photo/Flickr


By Mads A. Wickstrøm
Prize money gap in sport is narrowing with more sports achieving gender equality, according to a BBC Sport study.

A recent BBC global sport study, investigating prize money for world championships and other similar events, reveals that more than 80% of sports now reward men and women equally. As such, the study found 35 out of 44 sports to pay equal winnings to men and women. The result marks an increase in the number of sports paying equal prize money since 2014 when the first BBC sport study revealed that 30% of sports rewarded men better than women.

"We are extremely proud of the significant strides which have been made in redressing the gender imbalance in prize money across the whole of sport over the last three years," Ivan Peter Khodabakhsh, chief executive of the Ladies European Tour – Europe’s leading women’s professional golf tour, told BBC Sport.

"Knowing the reality in the market, however, I would question that 80% of sports have equal prize money. We believe there is still a significant gap between the treatment of men's and women's events. More needs to be done from a social perspective to improve the perception of women's sport and the financial rewards," Khodabakhsh added, according to the BBC.

Although female golfers are among the highest earners in elite sports they receive less than half the prize money compared to male golfers. At The Open golf tour in 2017, the prize money at the women’s tour is £487.000 – their male counterparts receive £1.17 million, numbers from the study shows.

Golf, along with cricket and football, shows some of the most significant disparities in prize money. Following suit are: cliff diving, ski jumping, darts and snooker along with various cycling events.

Although the pay gap has narrowed in recent years, football remains a sport where differences in prize money are immense.  As such, Chelsea, the Premier League winners of 2017, received £38 million in prize money, while there is currently no prize money in the Women’s Super League.

Furthermore, the winners of the 2017 Champions League final, Real Madrid, received £13.5 million. In the Women’s Champions League final, the defending champions from Lyon collected £219.920 after defeating Paris St-Germain.

According to information provided by the BBC, tennis was the first sport to close the pay gap in prize money when the US Open started paying equal winnings in 1973. By 2004, athletics, bowls, skating, marathons, shooting, and volleyball all paid equal prize money as well.

Since 2004, 12 sports have closed the gender pay gap with squash, surfing and all World Championship cycling events achieving equality.


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