There are a number of reasons as to why I could not be bothered to watch the U.S. Women’s team win the World Cup (congratulations to them are in order, for sure) or watch them make a fool of themselves by throwing the American flag to the ground (surprise, surprise, it was Rapinoe, the Trump-hating star of the team, that did it, but another player picked it up, so kudos to her) and get together to start chanting “equal pay”, believing themselves to be the victims of misogyny. Namely, I hardly care about soccer as it is and was more preoccupied with observing NBA free agency. However, that doesn’t mean I couldn’t see just what it was that the Women’s soccer team did after winning their second World Cup in a row: whine and moan that they are being treated “unfairly” and they deserve “equal pay” as the Men’s soccer team.
Well, there are a few problems with this entire debacle.
First of all, this is strictly a FIFA issue. Even Rapinoe had the sense to only call out FIFA for this “wage gap” between men and women because the players in the U.S. actually make around the same. According to the New York Times: “According to figures provided by U.S. Soccer, since 2008 it has paid 12 players at least $1 million. Six of those players were men, and six were women. And the women hold their own near the top of the pay scale; the best-paid woman made about $1.2 million from 2008 to 2015, while the top man made $1.4 million in the same period. Some women in the top 10 even made more than their male counterparts over those years.”
In other words, the talented and good players are paid top dollar, regardless of gender in the United States.
For FIFA, things are different, and while the international organization is marred by corruption, it is ridiculous to say that they are deliberately paying women less than men for sexist reasons. Why is it ridiculous? Difference in revenue.
FIFA pays its male players around $400 million and pays its female players around $30 million. From those two numbers alone and with no other information or context, you could say that there is, indeed, a wage gap. Men get a bigger piece of the pie than women… right? Actually, men get a smaller share of the revenue pie from FIFA than women do.
Here is what Forbes says about this: “As Dwight Jaynes pointed out four years ago after the U.S. women beat Japan to capture the World Cup in Vancouver, there is a big difference in the revenue available to pay the teams. The Women’s World Cup brought in almost $73 million, of which the players got 13%. The 2010 men’s World Cup in South Africa made almost $4 billion, of which 9% went to the players. The men still pull the World Cup money wagon. The men’s World Cup in Russia generated over $6 billion in revenue, with the participating teams sharing $400 million, less than 7% of revenue. Meanwhile, the Women’s World Cup is expected to earn $131 million for the full four-year cycle 2019-22 and dole out $30 million to the participating teams.”
In other words, the men get paid more than the women do because the men’s World Cup generates FAR more money than the women’s World Cup does. If the men generate more money, they earn more money. And as we can see from that quote, the share of the pie that the men get is actually less than the share the women get. Yes, the men are still paid more because they make more, but they are paid 7%-9% compared to the women’s 23%. So if you want “equal pay”, then either you’re going to have to get those women’s numbers up or lower the share the women get of the revenue.
Asking to be paid the same $400 million as the men in an organizational division that barely makes 32% of that would be to ask for financial ruin to the women’s World Cup. It’s sort of similar to asking for higher minimum wage. You might be getting paid more per hour, but you’ll see those hours cut heavily, so you end up either making the same (best case) or making less money than before per week (if you even get to keep your job in the first place).
What the two issues have most in common is that they both rely on emotion rather than logic. An organization that only makes around $130 mil cannot pay the same amount to its players as an organization that makes BILLIONS.
And that’s the second problem with this entire thing: the math makes it impossible for there to be “equal pay”. The women get a bigger share of the pie than men do, but the women’s pie is smaller than the men’s. Whatever share the men get is, as a result, most likely to be more money than what the women get. This is not an issue of misogyny or sexism or patriarchal, straight white men unfairly treating women as lesser than men. It’s a matter of revenue differences that affect people’s income. Again, the men get paid more because the men generate more revenue.
Now, I know what some still hysterical liberals might say: “But the women’s team is better than the men’s! They should be paid more as a result, according to your capitalistic logic!” While it’s true that the women’s team has historically been more successful than the men’s, you must realize that this is women competing against women versus men competing against men. This same women’s team that has won two World Cups in a row lost to a team of prepubescent boys a few years ago – kids around 13 and 14 years old. So the U.S. Women’s team can certainly beat other countries’ women’s team, but against the men, I doubt they’d do much better because of simple biology: men are physically superior to women.
Even in tennis, there have been five times when a woman played against a man. The woman only won once out of those five.
In 1973, 55-year-old Bobby Riggs took on 31-year-old Margaret Court in what is today called The Mother’s Day Massacre. Riggs beat Court 6-2, 6-1. Court was No. 1 in the world among women and had won three major titles. That same year, Riggs also played against Billie Jean King. The woman actually won that one (6-4, 6-3, 6-3).
But ever since then, men have won every match against women. In 1993, Jimmy Connors (40) played against Martina Navratilova (35) in what was called the “Battle of the Sexes”. While the first set was close (7-5), Connors dominated the second (6-2). What's more, there were special rules in place to favor Navratilova. Connors was only allowed one serve per point (if he hit the net on his serve, point Navratilova instead of a "fault" so no 2nd serve) and Navratilova was allowed to hit the ball into the doubles alleys where it would normally be an out on singles, but Connors had to play it normally.
And the most recent case came in 1998, when the Williams sisters claimed that no man outside the top 200 could beat them. Karsten Braasch, ranked 203 at the time, first destroyed Serena 6-1 and then destroyed Venus 6-2. Following the match, Serena said: “I didn’t know it would be that difficult. I played shots that would have been winners on the women’s circuit and he got to them very easily.” Braasch even taunted the two after the match by saying: “They wouldn’t have had a chance against anyone inside the top 500 because today I played like someone ranked 600th to keep it fun.”
While I’m not so sure about Braasch’s comment regarding the way he played (though I do believe he took it a little easy), Serena’s comment shows us what we know to be true: men are physically superior to women. I believe her when she says that the shots she took would’ve been winners against women. I also believe that Braasch easily got to those shots as well.
So when it comes to the U.S. Women’s team, if they can’t even beat 13 and 14-year-olds (to be a little fair, it’s possible the women also took it a little easy on the boys, but the boys still beat them), how could they stand a chance against the men?
And do you want to know what else leads me to believe the Williams sisters at least should’ve realized before hand that men are physically superior to women? The fact that they had to specifically challenge men outside the top 200. If men and women are the same, then wouldn’t it stand to reason that the top women could compete with the top men? If the best man played against the best woman and the man won, what would be the excuse? “Well, he’s No. 1. Of course he won!” But wouldn’t that also be true of the woman? As it stands, Novak Djokovic is ranked No. 1 among men and the aforementioned Serena Williams is No. 1 among women. If they played, there’s no doubt in my mind Djokovic would obliterate Williams. But the reason for this isn’t because Djokovic is so good but because he’s a guy.
So going back to soccer, the U.S. Women’s team isn’t better than the Men’s. The Women’s team is more historically successful, but in terms of a head-to-head matchup, the men have the upper hand.
Much like in other aspects of the private sector, there is no such thing as a “gender wage gap”. Men make more money than women because men either will work more or generate more revenue as is the case for the Men’s Soccer team.
To claim there is discrimination at play is disingenuous at best and malignant at worst. Do they really expect to be paid around $400 million like the men do in an organization that itself generates only 30% of that? Do they want the Women’s division in FIFA to be financially ruined? Because that’s how you do it.
1 Timothy 6:10
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
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