In this edition we focus the Spotlight On … Sexism in Sport
In this issue of Spotlight we are focusing on the difference between male sport and female sport. It is thought that male sport is a lot more popular than female sport but is this due to preference or is this due to other factors such as a lack of female sport coverage on television? Which leads to the question is there still sexism in sport?
Differences between male and female sport
Scientifically male athletes have a higher ratio of muscle mass to body weight, which allows for greater speed and acceleration. However, when you factor out the larger muscle mass in men and compare muscular strength relative to cross-section area of muscle, the strength of male and female athletes is nearly equal.
Although athletes strength may be the same, the way that male and female athletes are treat within sport is not. According to the WSFF (https://www.wsff.org.uk/), only 7% of sports media coverage is devoted to female sport and just 0.4% of commercial investment goes to female only sport (over 60% goes to male’s and team sports get the rest). Over 60% of sports fans say they would like to see more female’s sport on the TV.
The prize money in which male and females receive when winning a sport event is also significantly different, in some sport. The winners of the men’s cricket World Cup are given £3.1m, compared to £470,500 the women’s side win. Also the women’s football World Cup winners receive just £2m, compared to the men, who win £35m. However, recent research shows that 83% of sports now pay men and women the same amount in prize money.
Sexism in sport does seem to be heading in the right direction with positive changes happening for females. From 1960 women were allowed to compete in races longer than 200m, with Florence Griffith-Joyner holding the current world record time. Then in 1998 the Marylebone Cricket Club lifted its ban on female members, and in 2002 a study showed that out of the 44 sports that pay prize money, 35 pay equally.
So although there are differences within male and female sports this seems to be positively changing over the years. Lets wait and see what the future holds!
The Pay Gap
Information found from https://www.insure4sport.co.uk
The table above shows on average, male footballers receive £21.5 million more in prize money than female footballers. To put this into perspective, the prize money received by an average male footballer is nearly 40 times higher than his female counterpart!
However, a number of major sports lead the way in promoting gender equality. The average prize money is the same for both genders in tennis, volleyball, athletics and swimming.