Gender equality has come a long way, but there’s more to achieve — especially when it comes to controversial topics such as gender pay gaps in all industries. If we focus on the sports industry for a sec, sports has had the power to change lives. It’s taught many of us (women, girls, men, boys) teamwork, self-reliance, resilience and confidence.
Through the ages…
Sport is one of the great drivers of gender equality. Women in sport defy gender stereotypes and social norms, make inspiring role models, and show men and women as equals. In 2007, Wimbledon announced that women’s tennis players would receive prize money equal to men’s. The US women’s soccer team brought the conversation to the forefront when they won the World Cup last year, revealing that the US women’s team was paid a quarter of what the men earned.
The root of the problem…
The problem isn’t what women are getting paid — it’s the lack of a foundation to build on to capitalise their talent. When we make equal pay the central part of the conversation, we miss all the smaller things that enable a system that hurts women’s advancement in sports. Women and men should be seen as, and treated as, equals in all respects. Gender should not be the thing that defines us or separates us from our fellow athletes.
South Africa is advancing…
Support for gender equality in golf is underway across the globe, with significant strides made in 2019 regarding prize money, viewership and participation. South Africa is at the forefront of creating platforms that promote and develop talent in women’s golf.
READ MORE: The Powerful Way Sport Has Changed These 5 Women’s Lives
The Sunshine Ladies Tour celebrated its seventh season in 2020. Together with Investec, the Sunshine Ladies Tour has increased the financial incentives for players, with an additional R100 000 for the 2020 Investec Order of Merit winner, and record prize money of nearly R6 million on offer. The 2020 edition total prize money was €200 000 (over R3.5 million). While this remains significantly less than the R17.5 million prize purse offered at the men at the 2020 South African Open, it is an important development because it increases the financial support available to female golfers.
READ MORE ON: Real Women SA Women In Sport