After volunteering at the WSL Continental Cup Final on Sunday, I thought it’d be quite fitting to write a post on women’s football. Especially after the success of the Manchester City Ladies this past month.
It is fair to say the sports industry lacks gender equality, but slowly things are changing. As for football, over the years the gender gap has decreased significantly. However, there is a lot that still needs to be done for men and women to be treated equally.
1. The Substantial Pay Gap
American ‘soccer’ player, Alex Morgan earns around £1.9 million a year, making her the best paid women’s footballer. However, Morgan earns the majority of her money through sponsorship and endorsement deals unlike England Women’s captain, Steph Houghton. Houghton earns around £65,000 a year from her contracts and a small sum of the figure comes from her sponsors and endorsements. This contrasts with the weekly wages of the top players in men’s football, as some are earning over £300,000 a week! Quite clearly the pay gap between men and women is drastic, despite the success of the England Women’s team in comparison to the men’s team. As the women’s team is ranked 5th in the world whereas the men’s team is ranked 12th.
2. Media Coverage
In previous years women’s football has failed to be taken seriously, but after the success of the England Women’s team at different events many girls have taken an interest in the sport and it is estimated over 1.3 million girls now play football on a regular basis. Despite the increase in participation and engagement of the sport, it has been argued that women’s football is yet to take off as a spectator sport unlike men’s football. Unfortunately, women’s sport only makes up 7% of all sports media coverage in the UK. The statistic suggests that although slight progress is being made, a lot still needs to change, especially seeing as the media doesn’t cover a lot of women’s sport.
Although we still face inequality in women’s sport, we can’t ignore the fact that significant progress has been made. Statistics show that crowds in the WSL have increased by a massive 48%! England’s national team have been very successful over the past few years and following their success at the World Cup it has lead to more girls engaging with football, whether they’re becoming involved as officials, players, referees or just as passionate spectators. More and more females are playing the wonderful game and research has shown that there are over 750,000 registered players under the age of 18. As for adults, there are more than 50 associations that have a women’s national team- great progress!
The progress that has been made is unbelievable, as so much has been accomplished in such a short space of time. Women’s football is continuously growing and day by day the fan base is increasing. This is a massive step forward in order to decrease the gender gap further.