The saddening disparity in the women’s and men’s World Cups

The Winner of the 2019 Women’s World Cup will take home $4 million. While this amount is double the amount the United States national team won at the previous Women’s World Cup in 2015, the winner of the men’s World Cup 2018, the French team, took home $38 million (Sh3.9 billion).

As the tournament gets underway in France, attention has been drawn to the huge pay gap between the genders in the tournament. It is not only the winners who are disproportionately getting underpaid but even the participating teams and players.

FIFA, the body organizing the tournament, set aside a total of $30 million (Sh3.07 billion) prize money for this year’s women’s tournament. The men’s tournament played last year in Russia had a total prize money of $400 million (Sh40.7 billion). In addition to the prize money, FIFA gives the men’s teams $48 million (Sh4.9 billion) to cater for preparation costs and another $209 million (Sh21.3 billion) sent to the clubs that release players for the tournament. On the flip side, the women get $11.5 million (Sh1.2 billion) for preparation costs and $8.4 million (Sh856 million) catering for club compensation.

FIFA defends the pay gap with an unusual claim that it is a result of the difference in the revenues produced by the two tournaments. Last year, the FIFA President Gianni Infantino went on record saying: “Maybe one day women’s football will generate more than men’s football.”

Interestingly, the world’s best player, and the first-ever women’s winner of Ballon d’Or, Ada Hegerberg from Norway is actually not taking part in this year’s World Cup in France. This is due to a dispute with her national football federation concerning overall investment and treatment of women’s football in Norway.

FIFA is not the only culprit in the pay disparity in football. Women footballers are subjected to enormous pay gaps at the club and federation levels.

According to Forbes shock comparison in the wages of female and male footballers, Brazilian striker, Neymar, earned $43.8 million a year from his club, Paris Saint Germain- an amount more than the combine salaries of all women footballers competing in the seven top women’s leagues in the world!

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