Equal Play and Equal Pay

MiZion - LLI Columbus

Women generally hold a lower status in society as we can see through under-representation in government, pay gaps and being the minority of executive suites, news media and the booming tech sector (Friedman). But the question at hand is how is this issue present even in the sports field with laws like Title IX and the Equal Pay Act?

Under Title IX, people are to be protected from unfair or discriminatory practices in public affairs. The Equal Pay Acts holds the same concept, but in terms of employers and their wages, unless payment is made pursuant to a seniority system, merit system, quantity or quality production or any other factor other than sex. 

When Title IX is effectively put to use, many women embrace the opportunity to excel in sports. And this goes the same for the benefits of the Equal Pay Act and all of its protections. If the law is not implemented successfully, that is where establishments such as high school, college, and professional sports industries, find trouble.

For example, the U.S. women’s soccer team can benefit from these policies, however apparently because the team is at a professional level, Title IX does not apply. But, shouldn’t the Equal Pay Act come into question, being that the players are technically employees as well?

This is not the first instance where Title IX or the Equal Pay Act has been neglected with no remorse.

A women’s softball coach of the University of Louisiana was put on administrative leave, with no cited reason for the suspension. The suspension arises out of passionate conversation about gender equality, between Coach Lotief and other University personnel (Askelson). The coach argued that the school’s Title IX compliance was poor, shown through the maintenance of the girls’ softball field in comparison with the football field, lack of access to physical trainers and physicians, along with many other unmet needs. 

To give a little insight on how the Equal Pay Act is evidently not always in effect look at the wage gap. While there is variation in the gap across differing jobs and industries, the median salary for women working full-time is about eighty percent of what men earn (Bachman). This gap is also perceptible in sports as well. If you were to compare the highest earning of the highest per second earning MMA woman fighter, Ronda Rousey to Mayweather, the difference is astonishing. However to give leeway to this case, it is a profession where time is literally money and the status of the fighter depends on how much they are payed per fight. 

Based on these facts, my statement that women are generally set at a lower status in society in several aspects including sports and pay, remain the same. Even with laws such as Title IX and The Equal Pay Act, this is still an epidemic in American society. Women should be protected from unequal practices by Title IX and The Equal Pay Act, no matter the circumstances. If an industry or establishment doesn’t comply with the protections of these laws, they should be assessed and dealt with accordingly. This should range from lawsuits to the complete re-evaluation of a whole establishment, whatever it takes to bring a positive and effective change for women in society.   
Sources Considered:

  • Glover, William H., Jr. "Gender Participation Issues Related to Sports - Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972." Web Blog Post. Lexis Hub - Practice Legal Commentary. LexisNexis, 3 March 2011.
  • Lloyd, Carli. "Carli Lloyd: Why I'm Fighting for Equal Pay." Web Blog Post. The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 10 April 2016. 
  • Das, Andrew. "Long Days, Google Docs and Anonymous Surveys:  How the U.S. Soccer Team Forged a Deal." Web Blog Post. The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 5 April 2017.
  • Rios, Edwin. "The US Women's Soccer Team Scored a Much-Needed Pay Bump." Web Blog Post. Mother Jones. 5 April 2017.