Cycling Tips Podcast – Equality in Prize Money
I sometimes ponder what the people of the future will think of us and our society when they examine their history books a few hundred years hence. We can sometimes look back at some of the things our ancestors did and think they’re pretty weird and feel all superior for being smarter and more advanced – certainly some of the beliefs held in the past are downright bonkers. But I don’t think we’ve evolved to a stage where we won’t feel embarrassed about our failings in the future.
I strongly feel that people will look back on our times and say,
‘can you believe that in the 21st century they didn’t think women were equal to men?‘
‘it’s crazy that in 2016 women were still routinely paid less than men in nearly every profession.‘
The sad reality is that if I have a daughter, she won’t have the same opportunities as a boy. How am I meant to explain the reasoning behind her being valued less? Will she be brave enough to compete against boys and forge ahead in sport when there are few female athletes receiving high level coverage in the media?
So it’s pretty clear that I consider inequality in inexcusable, whether it’s on race, sex or religious terms, but where does that leave us when we come to prize money in competitive cycling?
There are many reasons given for paying out a smaller prize fund to female cyclists that I’m aware. I’ve given the arguments for and against parity a enormous amount of thought and I’ve discussed the topic a lot with my friends who race. I raised the issues on both sides in an article that I wrote for Total Women’s Cycling, pondering out loud whether the winner of a women’s race with a relatively small field should take away the same as the male winner who may have raced five times as many people, which is often the difference between the male and female field size at local races.
But what about ten day stage races such as the Giro Rosa where the winner takes home €1.050 which is a massive kick in the teeth consider the winner of the Giro D’Italia, the men’s equivalent nets €115.000
For me, the issue of prize money and pay are inextricably linked as lack of parity in both make is incredibly difficult for most female cyclists to make a full time living out of cycling. A friend of mine was just offered £300 a month to sign for a UCI team – how the hell is she meant to live on that? As of yet, the president of the UCI Brian Cookson doesn’t think that women deserve a minimum wage, whereas he has set one for the men that teams must adhere to. Cheers Brian.
Cycling Tips and Ella Cycling Tips recently asked me to contribute to a new podcast focused on the issue, along with Kris Auer, a race promotor who firmly believes professional women should receive equal prize money at races that are identical to mens, so in Cyclocross for instance.
Head over to the Cycling Tips website to download or listen to the podcast.