This Week in Culture

Unveiling the Gender Pay Gap in Sports and Beyond

Kickoff: Celebrating the FIFA Women’s World Cup

So, who caught the final game of the FIFA Women’s World Cup?  The 3 a.m. start time would usually be too early for me, but let me tell you, that game was worth it. A one-score game will never fail to keep me on the edge of my seat.

I will say nothing is as exciting as actually going to the game in person. Back in 2019, I was lucky enough to attend the event and see how awesome it truly was. Let’s just say it did not disappoint.  I will never forget the passion, energy, and sheer talent of these athletes.

Speaking of soccer – let’s talk about Street Soccer USA for a moment. – an organization close to my heart as I served on its board during its early years in Sacramento, CA. This organization is making waves using soccer to make a real difference, especially for those battling addiction. It’s not just about kicking a ball around, they’re using the game to inspire folks to get back on their feet, secure employment, and stay on the right path. They recently hosted the Homeless World Cup here in Sacramento, a testament to their commitment to positive change. If you’re looking for a cause that truly impacts lives, I encourage you to learn more about Street Soccer USA and consider donating to their cause – they are doing some amazing work.

Street Soccer USA

If this organization and attending the World Cup in person has taught me anything, it’s that Soccer is more than just a game; it’s a universal phenomenon that unites people. It transcends borders and cultural differences and fosters a sense of unity. But even within this inclusive, cultural game, there’s a stark reminder of the gender pay gap that persists not only in sports but also in various industries.

Female soccer players earn 25 cents to the dollar of men at World Cup, new CNN analysis finds

Despite the excitement surrounding the 2023 Women’s World Cup, the gender pay gap remains a significant problem in the soccer world. Even with an increase from the previous rate of less than eight cents, female athletes are still expected to make only a quarter of what their male counterparts did. FIFA’s allocation of $49 million from the total $110 million prize money directly to players is a positive step. The bigger concern is the distribution of funds to participating federations and players. Equal pay involves more than dollars and cents; it involves fair facilities, equitable scheduling, and representation in decision-making bodies, underscoring the complex process of closing the wage gap.

Taking a Shot at the WNBA Wage Gap

Enter the WNBA – a league of powerful athletes who are making strides both on and off the court. Yet, the wage gap remains a significant challenge. The average NBA player’s salary towers at about $5.4 million, while WNBA players earn an average of around $120,600. Let’s break it down – an NBA player earns 44 times what an average WNBA player makes.

What Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia tells us about basketball’s gender pay gap

Consider Brittney Griner, a basketball star formerly detained in Russia, where she plays to supplement her income. As Nneka Ogwumike of the WNBA players union said, “The reality is, she’s over there because of a gender issue – pay inequity.” Griner’s story isn’t isolated; many WNBA players look to overseas leagues to make ends meet.

Even the WNBA’s top players, like Diana Taurasi, Jewell Loyd, and Breanna Stewart, earn considerably less compared to their NBA counterparts. The struggle for fair compensation continues, with players like Liz Cambage making 5 to 8 times more in overseas leagues than in the WNBA.

The Score: Gender Pay Gap in the Workplace

Now, shifting our focus from the arenas to the broader world of work, let’s tackle the gender pay gap—a pervasive issue that stretches far beyond athletics. It’s a pressing concern that society has ingrained itself, through both historical biases and systemic structures, with men earning more than women.

Drawing insights from the Women in Leadership series, a research initiative that Culture Partners and I conducted, the importance of equitable treatment and financial recognition within organizations is revealed. Let’s dive into the core of it: pay and compensation. In our research, we shine a spotlight on gender equity, and the numbers do not lie. In an economy where women earn just $0.82 for every dollar men make, there’s an undeniable problem. But here’s the interesting part: when organizations ensure that women receive a fair share of compensation, the dynamic changes.

The purpose of this research isn’t just to highlight disparities, but to highlight real-world solutions. Our research shows that companies that align their purpose, strategy, and culture, and prioritize pay fairness, experience significant revenue spikes. Imagine that! Fair pay isn’t just a line item on a budget; it’s an investment that yields remarkable returns.

And this isn’t just about dollars and cents, it’s about culture, engagement, and success. When women feel valued and compensated appropriately, they’re more engaged in their work. But it doesn’t stop there. When organizations recognize the power of a diverse leadership team and ensure that women hold at least 45% of leadership roles, it’s like a jolt of energy to the entire workforce. That engagement gap between men and women? It practically disappears.

So, pay equity isn’t just about fairness; it’s a strategic move that can ignite growth and ignite culture. It’s about recognizing that an organization’s true strength lies in its diverse and valued workforce. When we champion pay fairness and ensure that women have equal opportunities in leadership, we’re not just making a statement; we’re driving transformation that reverberates throughout the organization and the bottom line.

Moving Forward: The Path to Equity

So, what can we do to bridge this gap? It’s about acknowledging the imbalance and actively working toward change. Just as the FIFA Women’s World Cup prize money is being distributed more equitably, it’s crucial for industries to recognize and reward the contributions of women.

The fight for equal pay is a journey that requires collective effort. We’re witnessing progress with milestones like the USWNT’s equal pay deal and the increased prize money in the Women’s World Cup. However, it’s essential to remember that this is more than just financial; it’s about creating an environment of respect, dignity, and fairness for all.

As we cheer on our favorite teams in sports and champion equality in the workplace, let’s stand together and continue pushing for a world where everyone’s efforts are valued equally.

Related Stories

Learn More

“Nothing demotivates A players like tolerating C and D ones” -An A+ player 

Learn More

Your Company’s Culture Can Benefit From Just One Word

Learn More

AI: Big Tech Is Your Future Auto Maker, Healthcare Provider, and Oil & Gas Supplier 

What Can We Help You Find?