This year, due to a widening pay gap, “Equal Pay Day”, the date from which women effectively work for free until New Year, came 3 days earlier than in 2013 – November 7th. If you were the best female cyclist in the world, guess when you would have started working for free compared to your male counterpart?
10pm on January 1st.
As women aren’t allowed to have an equivalent race to the Tour de France (too far for their lady legs), I’ve compared the Giro Italia with the Giro Rosa, which have similar courses and both run over 8 stages. The winning man this year pocketed €200,000, while Giro Rosa winner Marianne Vos took home €535. Over 8 days, that works out at less than minimum wage. No wonder she describes herself as a “fulltime hobby cyclist” on her twitter, despite being world champ several times over.
Isn’t sport a bit trivial? In a world where women are killed when they try to use the loo, or are killed by their partners, or don’t have access to birth control, does it really matter? Yes.
How women are represented in the media, and treated in the public eye, is a direct reflection of how we as women are viewed ourselves. This attitude trickles down to the level of hobby cycling, no question. If sportswomen are viewed as less interesting and capable than men, how does that suggest women in general are viewed? Our friend kick-ass ultra runner Sarah has a lovely article on reclaiming “Running Like a Girl” for her daughter, in a world where we are told we’re not good enough. Women are just as worthy of our attention, and prize money, and media coverage, and equal opportunities for participation.
And I for one, am mad as hell and not going to take it any more.
(This post assumes binaries of gender ie female/male, but of course gender and identity are a lot more nuanced than this. For a brief overview of trans issues in sport, look here on glbtq.com. Please share any other articles you’ve found interesting, too)