A Women on the Boards report has revealed that women are still under represented and under earning in sport.
The good news is that readers and TV viewers aren’t all helpless pawns in the big money game: you can help.
The Women on the Board’s (WOB) UK ‘Gender Balance in Global Sport’ report concluded that “the huge pay gap in many sports is not likely to close anytime soon”. It also highlighted that many sports governing bodies still have fewer than 30 per cent female representation on the board.
The report was based on analysis of over 300 governing bodies: nationally, internationally, and across able bodied and Paralympic sport.
The pay gap between men and women was highlighted in the report across a range of sports. It noted Cristiano Ronaldo as the world’s highest paid athlete with earnings of US$56 million whilst Serena Williams is the highest paid female athlete, at US$8.9 million.
75 per cent of Women’s World Tour teams would not be paying riders
Men’s Tour de France winner: over 1 million Euros. Women’s Giro Rosa winner: around 1,500 Euros.
The Gender Pay Gap in Cycling
In the case of cycling it was concluded that “women’s cycling, while not well remunerated, is making steady progress.”
Representatives from WOB UK spoke to Tracey Gaudry, an ex-pro herself who is now Vice President of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). She commented: “In cycling, while there has been a vast chasm historically between male and female remuneration and recognition -pay, conditions, prize money – much headway has been made in recent years in all disciplines including Road, BMX, MTB, Track and Cyclecross.”
The UCI does seem to be leveling the road. Gaudry told us last week that they’re looking at creating set of regulations (‘cahier des charges’) for teams around pay. However – currently there are few rules.
WOB UK also spoke to UCI Hour Record holder and Australian team road racer, Dr Bridie O’Donnell. She commented: “There are fewer tiers of women’s teams than men also. So I would be guessing, but riders Like Marianne Vos might be making more than 150,000 Euro and Lizzie Armistead is for sure on a big salary but she also has big endorsement from Adidas and Oakley. But of the 40 registered Women’s World Tour teams, greater than 75 per cent would not be paying their riders.”
Admittedly, O’Donnell does say she’s guessing – we know the major teams are paying wages, but there are a few smaller outfits registered (go to women, elite > teams for a full list) too. Drops team manager, Bob Varney independently backed her up to us this summer when he told us: “We think that 70 to 80 per cent of the peloton are not paid… We like to look after our girls.”