Monday, December 11, 2023

X-ray of elite women’s sport: less salary, sexist treatment or anti-pregnancy clauses

The victory of the champions of the women’s soccer team has highlighted the inequalities who suffer elite athletes. For example, the World Cup winners have received a prize of 110 million dollars, four times less than their male counterparts a year earlier in Qatar, when the amount was 440 million dollars. But they are not the only ones who suffer discrimination. On the contrary, in others sports Without so much media and social impact, which do not have the labor agreements that do exist in football or women’s basketball, there are even more “discriminations and inequality in the nature sporting, economic or social“, according to a complaint study by the Ministry of Equality presented this Tuesday.

The research titled ‘Inequalities of highly competitive athletes in Spain and measures for effective equality’ ensures that in Spanish women’s sport they persist patriarchal structures that cause gender inequality to be higher than in other countries. This is a qualitative study that has been carried out based on the responses of 16 elite athletes, 5 representatives of sports organizations, 3 journalists and 2 references from the sector, whose testimonies occupy 1,260 minutes of recording, which have been synthesized in a 150 page work.

In sports without media and social impact, there are even more “discriminations and inequality”

The report indicates that, with the “excuse” that women’s sports “it is not interesting and it is not profitable”which causes, among other things, that the private sector invests less in sponsoring athletes, national teams or women’s teams, highly competitive athletes suffer precariousness, lower salaries and endless sexist humiliations.

Anti-pregnancy clauses

First of all, in the area of precariousnesshighlights that many athletes, especially in areas where there are no labor agreements, “they are paid with allowances instead of remuneration or they are paid half-time instead of full-time”, which reduces their Social Security contribution and contributes to the fact that many are forced to reconcile the enormous effort and dedication that elite sport implies with a job. Likewise, many have to abandon their sports careers prematurely, due to the lack of financial resources but also to the pressures they suffer around the maternity or their role as women.

The report highlights that, as some athletes do not have a contract, there is no legal protection to ensure their continuity after giving birth. And the last straw is the anti-pregnancy clauseswhich are no longer frequent in football but are “susceptible to occurring in other sports where athletes have a salary outside the agreement.”

In addition to the lack of equal pay and rights between men and women, female athletes tend to have a lower allocation in the costs of accommodation or subsistence, as well as lower financial prizes, as has been revealed by the difference between the reward received by the World Cup champions and their male counterparts, which is mentioned at the beginning of this article and is included in the report. Finally, female athletes usually train in poorer quality sports facilities and with worse schedules.

“Is aberrant that many women (athletes) continue to earn ridiculous amounts and others stratospheric amounts. It is inadmissible in other areas and we have to put political will and a profound change of outlook into it,” highlighted the Secretary of State for Equality, Ángela Rodríguez, in the presentation of the study.

sexist violence

Beyond economic issues, the work also denounces that female athletes suffer a “sexist and stereotypical” treatment. “Skinny or fat They are part of the vocabulary of coaches, physios, etc. even when the merits are demonstrated,” denounced David Moscoso, co-author of the study, in the presentation.

While the other author, María Martín Rodríguez, has focused on the “violent behaviors” they suffer daily. “Sometimes they are small, unwanted glances, no attention, but they are like the waves of the sea, they leave the stones round because they are very frequent“. The best known example has been the non-consensual kiss that Jenni Hermoso suffered during the medal ceremony and that is being investigated by the National Court. There is also “ignorance and taboos about female physiology”, which cause “incomprehension due to the specific drop in performance that causes in some women menstruation“.

The solutions

Given all these problems, the study proposes a decalogue of actions, such as training specialized in sports management, organization and training professionals; The design of bells awareness to improve gender equality at the level of federations, recommendations for the promotion of women’s sport in the media, the design of specific aid for female athletes with dependent minors, proposals for tax incentives specific for the sponsorship of women’s sports or the regulation of professional women’s sports competitions and leagues.

The Secretary of State has stressed that “the Government listens” to these recommendations and to the athletes and must “take the initiative to make things change.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest article