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One strike, you’re out

To express the importance of equality in sports we like to discuss the findings and developments of this returning subject. As mentioned earlier in our blog post, completely balancing out the sexes within sports is a lengthy process and will only be achieved when live women sports are as globally recognized as live men sports by media companies and its spectators.

From a commercial point of view this statement is in order, however, according to Smith College economist Andrew Zimbalist this is not an argument one should make on this topic since it is not an educational argument.

Looking at the WNBA (Woman’s National Basketball Association) In the United States of America we notice that the women are paid a little less than a third of the revenue that is generated in the league. This sounds like a fair amount if you don’t take into account the percentage that men are paid is approximately 50/50.  

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, equality starts at the name, and there are all these W’s everywhere.  How are we able to create equality when we are giving it a different name? As long as there is no such thing as men’s football there shouldn’t be such a thing as women’s football. Football is football no matter who is hitting the ball.  Regarding the revenue of the WNBA, you might think that this 1/3% is the absolute highest the WNBA can do. Unfortunately, it is not.

Dave Berri, an economics professor at Southern Utah University focused on the facts. “Their attendance is about 7,500 per game,” Berri says. “That is very comparable to what the NBA was doing 20 years into its existence. In fact, the NBA was not doing that well 20 years into its existence. So this is a viable business.”

An interesting point, but what would be the solution? Fight for what you deserve.

As history has a way of repeating itself, we can expect certain changes in the future. According to Berri, going on strike might be the best option women have. “Until very recently in most sports,” he says, “women have not gone on strike or threatened to go on strike.”

In 1973, female tennis player Billie Jean King fought for equality at the US Open and succeeded. “She got wages changed by just threatening not to play anymore,” Berri says. “And that really is the story of sports. And we’ve seen this throughout the history of sports. If the players are not willing to walk away, they cannot change their wages.”

A trend is on the rise, women feel empowered and are marching through the streets seeking equality. Up until now, women’s rights drew the newest protesters in 2018 in the US, where 46% of all the rallygoers stated that they attended an event in support of them. This percentage was not entirely unexpected due to the 2017 Woman’s March that counted 4.3 million individuals that marched across the US. Recently, large-scale protests increased in numbers, are geographically widespread and get a message across that supports change.

Perhaps the final step in the closure for once and for all is to simply walk away. Can we expect this to happen in the near future? What do you think?

Sources: NYTimes, Vox, Opendemocracy, Wbur

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