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Nino Severino: The gender pay gap in some sports is still outrageous - things must change!

14 November, 2019 - 06:00
England's Ellen White (left) celebrates scoring her side's first goal with team-mates during the Women's International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium at the weekend. Photo; PA

England's Ellen White (left) celebrates scoring her side's first goal with team-mates during the Women's International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium at the weekend. Photo; PA

PA Wire/PA Images

NINO SEVERINO says the gender pay gap is still way too wide in some sports. It must be addressed

England Manager Phil Neville during the press conference at Wembley Stadium, London.England Manager Phil Neville during the press conference at Wembley Stadium, London.

After the incredible show of support and appetite at Wembley Stadium for women's football, a debate around the footballing gender pay gap has emerged, and I for one, believe these super talented females do deserve to be rewarded at a much higher level.

This is not only around payment, its travelling conditions, the amount of footballing events that the public have the opportunity to attend and the viewing time that the sport demands in the media.

A survey showed that 88% of Women's Super League players are getting paid less than £18,000 per year, this against some of the male superstars of the game being paid in excess of £350,000 per week!

Phil Neville has also expressed his unhappiness that the male stars enjoy first class travel, when the ladies do not benefit from this luxury treatment. We must remember that there have been past female football players who have fought with the ferocity of lionesses to deliver the privileges that our current ladies are enjoying, this has provided our modern day female players with incredible opportunities, and the foundation to begin to rise and reach the level of the male game.

I spent eight years on the Women's WTA World Tour, the ladies competing on the circuit were experiencing the same issues in terms of payment throughout the year, the difference being since 2007 both male and females have been presented with equal pay at the four great Grand Slams at Melbourne, Paris, Wimbledon and New York and at the combined Masters Events at the fantastically prestigious tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami.

The other advantages ladies in tennis benefit from is the way they are treated, as players and coaches we all enjoyed the same standard of player lounges, and attendances at all the great events that were being held around the world, including some of the fantastic players parties, some of these costing £500,000!

As I started to look at the gender pay gap in sport, it made me wonder whether the wider work force in the UK was experiencing the same issues?

Germany's Sophia Kleinherne (left) and England's Georgia Stanway battle for the ball during the Women's International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London. Photo: PAGermany's Sophia Kleinherne (left) and England's Georgia Stanway battle for the ball during the Women's International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London. Photo: PA

It did not take me long to unearth the answer to this question, yes, they were!

The gender pay gap has fallen in the UK; we now have a disparity of 8.6% among the full-time workforce across many industries. But certain industries are much worse than others, with male doctors being paid 20% more than female doctors, the higher up the work force food chain you look, the worse the problem becomes, according to the CIPD and High Pay Centre, the average remuneration for top male CEO's, is 110% more than their female equivalent. I personally find this staggering, and totally unacceptable, whether sport or the wider work force community, all, male and female deserve the same pay, for the same job.

I was very happy to read that during an International Women's Day many football clubs made a great effort to support their female teams, including extremely powerful messages from many of the top female players, accompanied by an emotional and moving film produced by the Football Association, outlining how far the women's game has travelled in a relatively short amount of time.

Manchester City Football Club went that extra distance by changing their Twitter handle to Womanchester for the day. It's extremely important that all in football and the wider UK work place use events such as International Women's Day to deliver a very clear message, all should be treated equally!

Since looking at the gender pay gap issue, I took time to look at how professional woman played a part in my life, and once I stood back and focused on my close team of professionals and the supporters I have around me through my portfolio of interests, it was very clear that my team consists very strongly of women.

Vicky Solomon Financial Director, Wendy Henderson Operational Manager, Lindsay Farish-Carradice Head of Sports Science, Lois Spencer-Tracey PR and Social Media, and close supporters such as my great friends from Birketts, Jennifer Leeder and Sharyn Scott, top corporate professionals based at Birketts Head Office near Portman Road Football Club Stadium. All these females help me to promote sport, and in particular focusing on how we can support young developing girls and create more opportunities for them in sport, and also now through Sport Skills 4 Business, offering experiences and opportunities through the wider career and business world.

Some might say that simply looking at the gender pay gap in sport is quite trivial when women in the UK face much serious wider issues, I think its incredibly valuable that sport is used as a high profile example that attracts attention, this view is supported, as the Commons IWD debate, both sides highlighted sport during their discussions about the wider equality issues.

A general view of the big screen showing the record breaking attendance at the Women's International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium on Saturday between England and Germany. Photo; PAA general view of the big screen showing the record breaking attendance at the Women's International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium on Saturday between England and Germany. Photo; PA

The reason for this, is one that I have covered in one of my previous EADT columns, strong confident, empowered women who have honed their skills in the sporting environment go on to achieve much more in business and corporate life.

I would now like to see these incredible women, receive the payment they so richly deserve!

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