FIFA, sexism, and money

Okay, I’m a week late on this, but I couldn’t let it go.  As mentioned, I hugely enjoyed watching the Women’s World Cup (especially that final!), but I don’t have a problem with the women players getting way less than the men.  Yes, FIFA is a horrible organization and horribly sexist (the turf!!), but that doesn’t mean that women getting less money than men is sexist, as a whole bunch of commentary I saw last week implies.  E.g., this.

According to the BBC, winners of this year’s 2015 Women’s World Cup took home a sum of $2 million. That’s no small chunk of change, but consider this: Germany, the winners of the 2014 men’s World Cup, were rewarded $35 million. For the same tournament, the women’s team was awarded $33 million less than their male counterparts. Shockingly, that $2 million reward is actually the highest its ever been. Previously, the women’s title winners were only rewarded $1 million. In fact, FIFA only announced they were doubling the amount last year.

Women's World Cup Pay Gap Chart

Here’s the thing… absent any reference to revenues, this chart isn’t really telling us much.  Did the men’s world cup bring in more than 20x the revenue?  I have no idea, but absent that information, I’m not going to automatically call these numbers sexist.

What really bothered me was all the posts saying– look at the US TV ratings, clearly this is sexism!  As I heard a commenter say, one thing we know is that Americans support American teams in major international competitions.  You think the U.S. ratings would have been close to this level for a Germany vs. Japan final?!  And also to not realize that in soccer, at least, the US is a pretty small part of the global financial influence.

Should FIFA do more to support women’s soccer?  Undoubtedly.  Should they pay the WWC players more?  Probably?  Is FIFA sexist?  Yes.  But, I still hate specious arguments about gender wage parity between women and men and this strikes me as particularly egregious case of weak arguments.



Photo of the day

Not exactly my idea of a relaxing time in the water, but I guess it works for them (via the Economist’s Instagram):

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