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U-turn on gender pay parity

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Sinclair Robbie
Robbie Sinclair

Partner

London

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08 March 2022

I have to put my hand up. As a sports fan, I have held the view that it is almost impossible to have pay parity between men and women in the sporting arena. Even if the prize money is the same, total pay is not ‒ the sponsors have continued to pay more to the men on the basis that they generate more interest, sell more tickets and so on and so on. I even wrote a blog about it back in 2016 saying that Djokovic’s comment that men should be paid more than their female counterparts had some legal merit in an equal pay context. 

Six years down the line, I have an eighteen-month-old daughter (and another daughter on the way) and I’m having serious doubts about the nexus between money and gender. Why shouldn’t my daughter aspire to be a professional sportsperson and be paid the same total package as anyone else doing the same? Thankfully, others have been fighting for pay parity for years, and we are starting to see some successes.

On International Women’s Day, I am celebrating those in sport who have contributed to myth-busting about competing on equal terms. 

Just recently, the US Women Soccer Players Association won a $24 million settlement for discrimination and unequal pay after six years in litigation. At last year’s Cheltenham festival, Rachael Blackmore was the first of her gender to be the top rider – and, the following month, became the first female jockey to win the Grand National. Gabby Logan, Alex Scott, Clare Balding and Alison Mitchell are flying the flag to inspire for the next generation of female sports pundits. But the last word has to go to veteran equal pay fighter, Billy Jean King:

"Everyone thinks women should be thrilled when we get crumbs, and I want women to have the cake, the icing and the cherry on top, too."

So do I. Happy International Women’s Day!

 

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