written by: Marianie Arroyo
Gender pay differences are at the forefront of the core issues that organizations who advocate for and support women’s advancement in the workplace defend. Coming from a family that encourages women’s academic and professional development and having a CFO dad that was very supportive and whom I admire greatly; this topic was unbeknownst to me. All of this changed at 16 when I was negotiating my first professional athlete contract. I was confronted with a situation where I was expected to accept what I was offered and given the perception that anyone who had reached that level was lucky enough and that you had to accept their terms because this was the way it was done.
One of the industries where women experience a huge pay gap is in Professional Sports. In my opinion there are several factors that give you a clue like seeing few women coaches in most disciplines and very few women general managers and team owners. Salary data shows evidence that the gender pay gap is still prevalent in the business of sports in 2018. Women sports’ disciplines such as volleyball have the same average amount of sponsors and even more fans that regularly attend games to support their teams. The gender pay gap allow women’s leagues to be more profitable for shareholders. Take as an example the US Women’s Soccer Team; they produced a projected revenue of nearly $18 Million for US Soccer and were paid 4 times less than their male colleagues before a court ruling last year that awarded them an increase in compensation, bonuses, stipends and other benefits.
Cases like this bring us to ask ourselves, how can this continue to occur even after decades of tactics to raise awareness about this issue? It is at this point that we can understand this is a systemic problem and conclude it has to be addressed with proactive steps that not only continue to raise awareness but yield results. These should include new measures to incentivize gender pay equality. Also, efforts that promote a change in mindsets and biases, aimed to achieve cultural shifts within the family nucleus dynamics and as a result influence organizational behavior. We can only make a difference if we are informed, understand the issue and its ramifications. We need all the allies that we can obtain not only because it ultimately affects them, but because they understand the value of women’s contributions in the workplace and society.