Yesterday (23rd March 2016), news broke that the winner of the Women’s Tour de Yorkshire will be receiving more prize money than the winner of the Men’s Tour de Yorkshire. The winner will receive £15,000, in comparison to the £1,000 prize money that the winner of the 2015 competition received.
Cue the typical outrage by the white male misogynist:
“Sexism! Where’s the equality? Disgusting!” shouts the male who never cares about ‘equality’, unless something benefits females more than males. I had a quick look through the Twitter profiles of some of the people replying to the news such as above, unsurprisingly I don’t see any of them who are equally disgusted at the unacceptable unequal pay in Tennis, which has been all over the news of late. These same people who are calling for ‘equality’ as above, are definitely the same type who think women aren’t allowed to watch sports and should spend their time ‘making sandwiches’, or whatever. Do these people who are angry at the women’s prize money really care about gender inequality? No, they don’t.
The fact of the matter is, even with this increase of prize money, women cyclists are predominantly paid less than their male counterparts. In men’s cycling, there is an imposed minimum wage of approximately £25,000, which is great as this prevents the major cycling teams underpaying their lesser known male cyclists, who’s main job is to support the better known cyclist who has a greater chance of winning. However in women’s cycling, there is no minimum wage. Many female athletes just consider professional cycling as a hobby, including 10-time world champion Marianne Vos who’s Twitter bio is “Fulltime-hobby-cyclist”, who also said:
Now let’s look at prize money for other major races in which both males and females compete in. The next major one-day race is the Tour of Flanders, in which the prize money will be a decent £15,600 for the lucky male winner. What’s the prize money for the winner of the Women’s Tour of Flanders? An absolutely massive £957. Arguably the biggest cycling event is the Tour de France, in which the male winner claims approximately £355,000 in prize money, lucky bloke. There isn’t even a women’s Tour de France, I guess women just can’t compete with the superhuman strength of these strong superior male athletes!!!! Why is the Tour de France a male-only event anyway? The President of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the world governing body for cycling, Brian Cookson even said “women aren’t physically capable of completing 21 stages.” Yeah, alright mate.
If you’re sitting there reading this and are thinking “hang on, I’m a misogynistic creep”, you’re probably asking questions such as “you’re an idiot, how can they pay women more than they currently do when they don’t create as much revenue as men?” or “shut up feminazi, how can women earn the same as men when they are physically weaker and compete in less races?” Well, meninist, good questions. Why can’t women’s events be televised just as much as men’s events? Sure, the audience may be lower, but there is an obvious demand for more women’s sport being televised, not just cycling. Why can’t women’s sports be advertised more, even if they aren’t televised? Money generated through actual fans turning up could also help in increasing wages. Look, I’m not saying women’s footballers should be earning Wayne Rooney-esque £300,000 per week, but the gap between how much men are earning in sport compared to the amount women are earning needs to be narrowed down.
However, I must take this opportunity to praise the women themselves in sport. From the scrutiny, the massive pay gap, the physical demand, women in sport need to be appreciated for their dedication to doing something they love which hasn’t many of the benefits their male counterparts enjoy. I hope that doesn’t come across as being patronising, but women aren’t praised enough for their contribution to sport.
So, to all those shouting stupid stuff at the prize money being higher for women than men for one cycling event, please take into account the hundreds of other factors and how this is just one step closer to achieving the equality you’re so busy shouting for/at (obviously dependent on which suits the male more!!). From my own point of view, anything that attempts to close the gender pay gap and improves gender equality gets a thumbs up from me, but a lot more needs to be done in cycling, sport, and employment overall across the globe. Also, big up Asda who are sponsoring the Tour de Yorkshire and are the sole reason behind the prize money being more lucrative for female cyclists.
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