The Inequality of Male and Female Athletes’ Salaries

U.S. Women's Soccer Team

U.S. Women's Soccer Team

Why do women athletes get paid less than men athletes?

Have you ever wondered why men’s sports bring more attention than women’s sports, or why men athletes get paid better than women athletes? Let’s take a closer look at this controversial issue.

No matter what sport, women always get paid less than men. Many people ask why there’s no answer to that question.  Women athletes are demanding equal pay, but no one seems to be doing anything to make the salaries of men and women athletes equal.

While reading the list of the world’s highest paid athletes in Forbes Magazine, I realized there were only two women on this list. They were both tennis players; the first one, Serena Williams, is ranked number 40th on the list, and the second one, Maria Sharapova, is ranked number 88th on the list.

These facts may be shocking, and right now you may be wondering why you never thought about this. Why are women athletes undervalued? What is the real reason for this inequality? Is it because women athletes are not as good as men athletes?  Or is it because men’s sports are more popular than women’s? Is it because men’s sports draw more money than women’s sports? Or is it just because it has always been this way? Why do we have this gender gap, and do you think this is right?

One professional women’s team has been trying to change this. The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team is demanding equal pay. Their Captain, Carli Lloyd, said, “We feel like we are treated like second-class citizens.” And they aren’t the only women athletes who feel this way. They also stated that they feel discriminated against.

Let’s look at salaries for the U.S. national soccer teams. The male soccer players, for example, receive $5,000 for a loss in a match, and as much as $17,625 for a win against a top opponent. In comparison, the female soccer players receive only $1,350 for a similar event, but only if the United States wins; the women players receive no bonuses for losses or ties.

This case, however, hasn’t gone very far because when the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team protested for equal pay, the USA Soccer Organization actually sued the players to keep their salaries the same ( According to ESPN, “…despite the women’s team generating nearly $20 million more revenue last year than the U.S. men’s team, the women are paid about a quarter of what the men earn.” This is so unfair. Why does this continue to happen? Why do women athletes keep getting less recognition than the male athletes?

One of Rectory’s ninth-grade students, Maddy B., did her Capstone Project on this topic. She said she was interested in this topic because she has a passion for ice hockey, but when she looked into the salaries for female professional ice hockey players, she was shocked at how low they were. “Women professional ice hockey players only earn about $10,000 a year, while the men players earn on average $7.2 million a year!* That’s totally unfair!” she argued. (*See Editor’s note below.)

It’s the same in every other sport. There’s not a single professional sport where women get paid the same as their male counterparts. I see no good reason for this. Some people say we’re living in a time where there’s no gender discrimination, no gender inequality. So why do men and women athletes not get paid equally? In my opinion, the pay should be the same for both genders;  there’s no difference between women’s and men’s sports. They are all the same.

There’s good news here at Rectory, however. We have made a positive change regarding this issue, and our young students are part of this change. At Rectory we give the same importance to girls’ and boys’ sports teams. It doesn’t matter which level, from varsity to JV, all of our athletes have the same roles and get the same emphasis here at Rectory. It should be the same all over the world, in all sports. Both genders should have equality. So raise your voice and talk about this problem with your family and friends, so we can end this inequality once and for all!

(*Editor’s Note: USA Hockey recently negotiated a deal with the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team that will substantially raise the annual salary of each player from $6,000/year to $70,000/year (! This is unprecedented in women’s sports! Let’s hope this will be the start of equal salaries for professional women athletes in all sports.)