UK’s minister for sport Helen Grant has called for a “battle for gender balance and fairness” after a BBC Sport study found that a number of the world’s most popular sporting competitions still reward men with greater prize money than women.
The study revealed that out of 56 international sports examined 30% have substantial differences in the prize money awarded to male and female competitors.
The men’s Premier League for example pays out £24m for the competition in comparison to no prize money given for the women’s Premier League.
Huge variances are also seen in cricket, with the men’s World Cup offering £2.5m in contrast to a mere £47,000 offered for the women’s competition. Other major sports such as snooker, golf and darts too reveal similar disparities.
Grant told the BBC Sport: “There is a gap, it needs to be closed but it’s not going to happen overnight. We do know that women’s sport is very exciting, we know it can draw really big audiences but we need more media coverage and more commercial investment.”
The campaigning of Billie Jean King and other female players made tennis as the first sport to pay equal prize money in 1973 without gender disparity and has been followed by a number of other games like athletics, marathons and volleyball.
Grant commented: “In 70% of sports there is parity and that’s great and that’s what we want. But we also want the others moving in that direction too and I feel it will happen when the full potential of women’s sport is seen and realised.”
Highlighting the major discrepancies in prize money between genders, the study is a strong stepping stone to getting the issue firmly on the agenda for all sporting bodies. Considering that this year’s US Golf Open presented its female winner Michelle Wie with £452,200 while Martin Kaymer was awarded £1m as winner of the male competition, it is clear how far we have yet to go in order to take “the battle for gender balance and fairness into the 21st century”.