To what Extent does Providing Equal Salary Caps for Men and Woman Solve Inequality?

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Updated: Mar 20, 2021
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Gender inequality, although an utterly complex subject, is primarily categorized by the idea that men and woman are not equal, which tends to affect individuals’ life experiences. One extremely common area, where we see the negative impacts that this flawed ideology has on an individual’s life, is in the field of sports. A prime example of this inequality, which this paper will dig deeper into, is the differences in salary caps between men and woman’s sports teams. Salary caps are arrangements that put a minimum on the amount of money that a team can spend on each player’s salary.

However, it’s important to note that this inequality is far from a “new” concept. In fact, gender inequality has been a struggle fought for long and hard by activists all over the world since nearly the beginning of time. The feminists of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries fought for rights that are common to us today, yet although basic rights have been normalized, a fair amount of inequality is still present every day, an all around the globe. Although the struggles have evolved over time, as our world is much more democratic now (woman used to fight for suffrage, to own property and capital, to borrow money, to inherit, to keep the money they rightfully earned, to call for a divorce, to retain custody of their offspring, to go to college, to argue cases in court, and to serve on a jury), woman still fight for rights in different ways (equal pay, no bias in the criminal justice system, equal salary caps, etc). Historically, though, woman have traditionally been treated as second class citizens, and salary caps, more specifically, were first introduced into professional sports during the 1984-1985 season of the NBA.

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In the United States, equal salary caps certainly would help to lessen the intensity of the issue of gender inequality in the field of sports. For example, in the USA, The National Women’s Soccer League, which has won the world cup not once or twice, but three times, has a pay ceiling per player of just $37,800. Although this would be an impressive number, it pales when compared to an average of more than $300,000, as well as a median of $100,000 for the men’s Major League Soccer. To put this into perspective, each team in the National Woman’s soccer league has a salary cap of 265,000, while for the men’s Major League Soccer, it’s more than three million. Evidently, the statistics support the stated assertion. Unequal salary caps lead to a lower salary for a woman athlete than for a male, which essentially represents and encourages the concept of gender inequality. Equal salary caps in sports would help lessen the gap in salaries between men and woman, which would have tremendously positive effects on the modern world. For example, salary caps have been proven to “draw higher television audiences, costlier media contracts from television networks and more lucrative contracts from advertisers.” (Wallace, 2015). Not only are salary caps crucial to the advancement of woman’s rights, they also tend to spark regional and national interest, which serves to unify a country.

Although implementing equal salary caps in the USA would aid in the development of gender equality, it’s important to note that this isn’t a silver bullet. It’s nearly impossible to ignore the inequality that’s rooted so deep into American history, that it even affects the value of one-time opportunities, such as prize money awarded for winning one of the most honorable titles. For example, in 2015, the woman’s soccer team was awarded 2 million less for their first-place finish in the World Cup, when the USA men’s team earned 9 million after losing. In this specific example, we see that industries within sports simply award men and woman’s teams differently for the same exact title, which is pure inequality and discrimination. Equal salary caps alleviate woman from suffering the pain of earning less money per day (the collective amount of their daily earnings is known as their salary), yet it doesn’t stop dimming the brightest moments in their career, which is important to note when assessing the solutions to this global issue.

In addition, the inequality present doesn’t begin once a woman enters the professional field of sports, which proves that salary caps are not the root of the problem. In 1972, under the amendments that discuss education, a law was passed that prevented any individual, based on gender, to be denied participation in, or face discrimination in any educational program that was funded by the federal government or received any assistance from it. However, despite these efforts, in a study conducted, students from Frontier High School explain that young girls still feel that they’re not being treated equally to their male peers, and are given a significantly less amount of opportunities. Although public schools are technically required to provide equal and equitable opportunities to both boys and girls, reality has proven that there are loop holes.

In Australia, historically, a masculine bias has dominated their culture. Therefore, the recent increases in the salary caps for the W-league, the woman’s soccer league in Australia, has lifted some of the heavy weight that gender inequality entails. Given that doubling the salary cap for the W-league to $300,000 from 150,000 has aided in the development of woman’s rights in Australia, one can only imagine what an equal salary cap would do for the country. Currently, the salary cap for the A-league (men’s soccer league) is 2.60 million. Simply based on the fact that the current salary cap gap is unbelievably large (300k for women, 2.60 million) even after advancements were made, it’s clear that women’s teams are not valued equally. An equal salary gap would be significant for woman, as it can change the view that the entire country has on the value of woman’s sports and lessen inequality by allowing individuals to think of women’s sports as more “legitimate”.

However, once again, leveling the salary cap in Australian sports leaves many problems still unsolved. For example, many have nodded their heads in disapproval, as it’s recently been revealed that some clubs saw their female teams in Australian training away from the main facilities that were granted to the men, often on inferior grounds that were stationed quite a far distance away from the main club venue. In addition, corners have been cut with travel budgets, inexpensive flights, and less convenient budget accommodation specifically towards the woman’s team (Hinton, 2018). Even though the minimum amount on their salaries can be controlled, it’s clear that inequality cannot completely be wiped out due to the fact that different opportunities are offered based purely on gender.

In Brazil, an underdeveloped country classified by the UN, a survey was taken of registered professional athletes last January. According to ESPN, this study showed that amongst football players in Brazil, 82 percent are paid a maximum of 1,000 reals ($250) a month.

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To What Extent Does Providing Equal Salary Caps for Men and Woman Solve Inequality?. (2021, Mar 20). Retrieved from