Womens Football Calls For Change
2019 sees the eighth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. A total of 24 teams qualified for the tournament which is being held in France. One of the major changes between this and the previous Women’s World Cup is the use of technology.
The Video Assistant Referee, commonly known as VAR, has been introduced and this falls in line with the Men’s World Cup last year. However, despite this common ground between the men’s and women’s game, the latter is still behind in many areas, with pay being one of the most contentious issues.
A survey conducted in 2017 showed the combined pay of the football players in the top seven female football leagues equated to the same amount as Neymar. That’s one male player taking home the same money as seven leagues worth of female players, which is astounding. Many onlookers believe the same football jobs should be paid equal regardless of gender.
In 2018, 88% of players in the English Women’s Super League earned less than £18,000 per year. There are not many players in the English Premier League who are earning less than that per week. In March of the same year, the England women’s international football team participated in the SheBelieves Cup, which was played in the United States.
The team travelled to the tournament in economy class. This would never happen to the men’s team, regardless of whether they were playing in a friendly match or a tournament.
The disparity between the women’s football and men’s football does not end there. The prize money for the winners of the 2019 Women’s World Cup is double that of the previous event four years ago. The winning nation in 2019 will receive $4 million, with the runner-up heading home with $2.6 million.
On the face of it, this seems like a lot of money but when compared to the 2018 Men’s World Cup, it is not. France won the 2018 Men’s World Cup and in doing so bagged $38 million. That alone is more than the whole prize fund for the 2019 Women’s World Cup. The gap between the men’s and women’s prize find over the last four years has increased.
Some sponsors have tried to bridge the gap between male and female players at the World Cup. Adidas is a good example and the sports manufacturer promised to match the performance bonus paid for male and female players. In terms of the lead up to the 2019 Women’s World Cup, everything seems bigger and better then four years, which is a good sign.
However, away from payment and sponsorship, there is another interesting factor to consider.
Of the 24 teams participating in the 2019 Women’s World Cup, 16 have a male head coach. Should the top football coaching jobs in the women’s game be taken by women? None of the male football coaches at the Women’s World Cup are particularly big names in terms of the men’s game.
Are the top jobs in football being taken up by men across both the male and female game? The percentage of men managing at the 2019 Women’s World Cup suggests that’s the case.
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