Gender Pay Gap In Golf: Does It Exist? Why Does It Happen? And What Needs To Be Done?

The gender wage gap is not unheard of in the modern work environment. In fact, there is more conversation on the subject than ever, which opens up new avenues to discover why, where and how industries across the world are contributing toward maintaining the glass ceiling instead of tearing it down.

Blatant sexism is actively observed in the world of sports, as it is among several other professions. The world of golf is not different. The question we must ask ourselves at this point is: how is it fair for a person or a group to be compensated differently for doing the same job? The answer is: it’s not. So why does the gender pay gap exist in golf?

A Matter Of Numbers

According to BBC, from the top 100 highest-paid athletes in the world, it’s only tennis star Serena Williams that made it to the list. Even in soccer, the women’s football team’s 2015 World Cup win scored them $2 million in prize money, while their male counterparts secured a winning of $35 million in 2014.

The world of golf seems to be no different. The U.S. Open Championship for men increased its prize money by $2.5 million, bringing it up to a total of $10.5 million in 2018. On the other hand, the U.S. Open Championship for women announced a winning prize of $9 million in 2018.

A stark gap, one has to admit.

Who Takes The Cake—And Why?

Professional female golfers are making significantly less than their male counterparts and the reason behind this is straight forward: there’s a lower demand for female golf players, which means there’s also less advertising and prize winning for them.

Women’s golf gathers less viewership—on television and in person—which leads to less money from advertisers going into the sport. In contrast, male golf accrues higher television rankings and larger crowds at tournaments, which results in a higher interest from advertisers. This also results in larger prize winnings from tournament promoters for men’s golf than women’s golf.


Closing The Gap

A recent study by BBC reported that the gender gap in sports is narrowing. The study discovered that as of 2017, that 83% of sports now reward male and female professional players equally—although golf, cricket and soccer remain to be the sports with the greatest disparity in prize money.

So how do we bring change to marrow the pay gap?

The change, in fact, needs to come from advertisers and promoters—but it also has to come from fans and viewers. Advertisers and promoters pay for what the fans and viewers watch. While it is difficult to influence consumers, it’s not completely impossible to do so.

We need to change the way we perceive women in sports and how we talk about them in the media. So instead of PR agencies pushing out articles about “Top 20 of The HOTTEST Female Golf Players”, what they should be promoting are articles about “Top 20 of The Most TALENTED Female Golf Players”. An active initiative needs to be taken to change the discourse and the language we use about women in sport, which could be the first step in the right direction.

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