With International Women’s Day on the horizon, we thought it would be a great time to raise the profile of women blazing trails in previously male-dominated sports and highlight the prize fund discrepancies that unfortunately still exist in sport today.
From football to snooker, we have found discrepancies in prize funds between male and female sporting events. Although, there is an argument that women’s sports generate less money and that’s why the prize funds are less! However, the counter argument is that they generally aren’t marketed effectively, and the advertising budgets aren’t as much as men’s sporting events. No matter what the reasoning it’s about time things changed.
In the last 15 years, women’s football has seen tremendous growth, yet prize funds remain drastically uneven. Take the 2019 Women’s World Cup for example, which had a winning prize of $4 million compared to the 2018 Men’s World Cup which saw the winners walk away with $38 million.
In fact, any team knocked out of the group stages of the Men’s World Cup will have received $8 million - double that of the winning female team. Shocking!
Inspirational female footballers
Retired - Mia Hamm (USA)
Hamm’s debut game was in 1987 and since then she has earned 275 caps, won the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year in 2001 and 2002, and was part of two winning Olympic teams. Retiring in 2004, Hamm achieved a world record of 158 international goals and has well and truly earned her place in the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Present - Lucy Bronze (UK)
Currently one of England’s best players, Lucy Bronze has played for several teams in the UK as well as at college level in the US. Bronze helped the England team place third in the 2015 World Cup and in the 2019 tournament, she was part of the England team, which finished in fourth place. Bronze then went on to be the first footballer to win the title of UEFA Women’s Player of the Year Award.
Future - Jody Brown (Jamaica)
Jody Brown played for Jamaica in the 2019 FIFA World Cup, after helping the team qualify in 2018 where she scored in extra time. Now in 2020, Brown is heading up a 20-member squad for the CONCACAF (The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) Women’s Under-20 Championship. Brown is definitely one to watch as the next future female football star.
When we think of women’s cricket, there’s one country leading the way and that’s Australia, where there are now over 100 professional female cricket players. With this in mind, the ECB (English and Wales Cricket Board) announced in 2019 that there will be new contracts for women in England and Wales worth £27,500, matching the minimum wage of male county cricketers.
In total, the funding will be £20 million over two years with a view of increasing this over five years. Although there is still a pay disparity, with the ICC (International Cricket Council) Men’s World Cup 2019 winning prize being $4,000,000 and the Female World Cup 2020 winning prize being $1,000,000, this is a step in the right direction for cricket.
Inspirational female cricketers
Retired - Charlotte Edwards (UK)
Before retiring in 2016, Edwards was the captain of the England team, where she played 220 games and won three Ashes. Edwards was the first female cricketer to score 1,000 runs, 50 wickets and 50 catches. To top off such a successful career, she also has an MBE and CBE for her services to the sport.
Present - Ellyse Perry (Australia)
Perry has enjoyed a varied career to date. At the beginning of her professional sporting life, she played both international cricket and football. In 2014, she chose to focus on cricket and has achieved much success. An inspiration to girls, women and sports players the world over, Perry has won the ‘Belinda Clarke Award’ three times, and has helped her teams win the Women’s World Cup and four International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s World Twenty20.
Future - Jemimah Rodrigues (India)
At just 13 years old Rodrigues was part of the under-19s team and in 2018 she was named the standout player in the team ICC Women’s World Twenty20 tournament. She currently sits in the top ten of the T20I (Twenty20 International) batting rankings, alongside more established players. Watch this space…
Perhaps one of the largest pay discrepancies in female sports is the difference in winnings between female and male snooker professionals.
Take the 2019 World Championship for example, where the male winner received a handsome £500,000 prize compared to the £15,000 that the female winner received. In fact, players who make it to the last 48 receive £15,000 in the Men’s World Championship.
Inspirational female snooker players
Retired - Allison Fisher (England)
Having started to play snooker at a young age, Fisher had perfected her game by her late teens and went on to set a then-record of seven world titles. In the late 80s and early 90s, Fisher’s winning streak continued as she was part of the first Championship to leave the UK. She was such a formidable component that she was named The Duchess of Doom.
Present - Reanne Evans (UK)
As a 12-time World Snooker Champion, Evans is the first woman to qualify for the final stages of a professional ranking event and the first to win a match at the professional World Championship. This talented woman has been playing since 2002 and is still going strong.
Future - Varsha Sanjeev (India)
Sanjeev is an upcoming snooker player who claimed the 2016 bronze in the under-21 Championship. In 2017, she also reached the quarter-final of the World Championship. In 2019, Sanjeev won the women’s national title, beating many other snooker professionals.
Doing it right - Tennis
Since 2007, tennis has been leading the way for female athletes ensuring equal winnings across all four major tournaments no matter what your gender.
We’re sure you know many inspiring female sports stars that you’d like to thank this International Women’s Day. If so, head over to our socials and share the love ❤️ Remember to use the #BeUnstoppable✊