Thu | Aug 24, 2017

Oral Tracey: Equality a myth

Published:Tuesday | April 26, 2016 | 4:00 AM
West Indies women’s captain Stafanie Taylor.
Tennis star Serena Williams.
File Tennis star Djokovic has argued that male tennis players have greater marketing appeal than their female counterparts
Barcelona's Messi.
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It would absolutely and significantly enhance the simplicity of our existence if all men and all women were actually and literally created equal. The fact of the matter is that equality and parity, generally and specifically as it relates to income generation in all spheres of life including sports is a million miles from reality.

Parity and equality in earnings are mythical even among men in sport, meaning that even in an all male team or all male sport some individuals earn more than others based on the value they bring to the team and or the sport.

Lionel Messi for example earns three or four times what some of his star teammates earn at Barcelona. The same applies to NBA superstar LeBron James, whose salary and earnings are significantly more than any of his teammates at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The notion of equal pay and parity of earnings in sport is based more on emotionalism, more than a touch of feminism and a throwback to the old socialist ideals, than any semblance of appreciation for the modern reality.

 

IRRATIONAL AND NAIVE

In the current market driven global space it is irrational and naive to argue for example that the women cricketers should be remunerated at the same level as their male superstar counterparts. The disparity being too wide is a more reasonable cause worth exploring, but women's cricket is still relatively new in terms of impact, popularity and income generation and is still a major work in progress.

Let us not get too carried away by the impressive success of Stafanie Taylor and her team in lifting the ICC World T20 title. Being crowned champions will no doubt enhance the cause of the women's game across the region and in the rapidly evolving world of cricket our top women players are already being offered contracts to play in the emerging leagues across the world. This represents steady and commensurate progress of the women's game and stars of the women's game. But to argue parity or equality is ridiculous.

Remuneration must be value and productivity based. Failing that the economics of the situation will not hold. If tomorrow morning women's cricket becomes more popular and generates more money than men's cricket, by all means the women should then earn more than the men.

In women's tennis, for example, where there is equality as it relates to prize monies, it is fully deserved again based on value in that Serena Williams is no less of a money spinner and a tennis superstar than Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic and quite rightly the market has spoken in that regard.

There is also the unique case of the USA women's soccer team. They have chosen the courts as the avenue to settle their remuneration disparity dispute with the USA men's soccer players. In that case the American women might very well have a credible case because the women's game is hugely popular in the USA when compared to the men's game, certainly in terms of participation there is parity between men and women in that country, while in terms of international success the American women have long and continue to outperform the American men.

THEY ARE WORTH IT

If a credible case can be built around the value of the USA women's team bringing greater value to the market than the men, then by all means the American women should be commensurately remunerated. Fundamentally, that is because they are worth it and not simply because they are women.

Equality between the sexes and even among the sexes is a mythical platitude. When the rubber hits the asphalt of real life nothing is further from the truth.

Generally each individual is rewarded for the value he or she brings to the organisation or the team. If a female athlete brings more value to the cause than the male, she should be commensurately rewarded more than the male. If a male athlete brings more value to the cause than the female then he should earn more.

It can get no more basic and equitable than that.