income equity between men and women, a chimera?

income equity between men and women, a chimera?


We’re not there yet. The start of the Euro in England, on Wednesday July 6, was preceded by announcements, with great fanfare, as to the establishment of income equity between the female and male selections in many countries. But from one federation to another, the parameters of the agreements are far from having the same scope.

Let’s be clear: there is no pay equity. “It’s actually equal bonuses and equal treatment. But no money, the two economies have nothing to do. Calling it salary is an abuse of language”entry tranche Luc Arrondel, CNRS researcher and co-author of Like the boys? The economics of women’s football. Of the 48 national federations which took part in the qualifications for the Women’s Euro, only ten have put their players on a relatively equal footing in the national team.

To understand what is at stake in Europe, you must first take a look around… the United States. In terms of equality, the Americans, four-time world champions and as many Olympic champions, are pioneers. Their claims influence those made on the Old Continent. After three years of battle, the United States Soccer Federation agreed on February 22 to pay the women’s national team at the same level as the men’s team “in all friendly matches and tournaments, including the World Cup”states the press release. “The collective agreement establishes perfect equality at all levels in selection. It’s a first!”, underlines the economist Luc Arrondel.

However, the International Football Federation (Fifa) and UEFA (which organizes European competitions) will continue to pay more money to the federations for the participation of men’s teams. The reason: the revenue earned (TV rights, sponsorship) is much higher among men.

The federations redistribute part of the money to the players in the form of bonuses. In 2019, the Americans, world champions, received 1.45 million euros. American players, eliminated in the round of 16 in 2014, received 4.5 million euros. This difference between the two sums was widely criticized across the Atlantic and resulted in a lawsuit brought by 28 footballers to US Soccer for discriminatory policy”. With the new collective agreement, the two teams will pool their bonuses and then share them equally.

On the other hand, equal pay is not absolute between men and women, even in the United States. Beyond a few superstars like Megan Rapinoe or Alex Morgan, the average annual salary for female players in the American championship was 23,000 euros in 2017 compared to 303,147 euros for men, according to the report “Global Sports Salary Survey” (in English). “In the club economy, the markets are completely disjointed. Whereas in the national team, you can have regularization at the level of the federation. But when you talk about wages, it generally concerns the clubs and not the national teams. “recalls Luc Arrondel.

Asked about the agreement in the United States, the tricolor international defender Wendie Renard pointed out that the American players had been able to use certain means of pressure.EThey have titles, they have a track record so they can afford to have this fight with their federationsaid the Lyon player. In terms of the media, they are really popular whereas this is very little the case in Europe with the national teams.

However, as Euro 2022 approached, federations made significant announcements in terms of bonuses, such as the Spanish (same bonus percentage), on June 14, 2022, or the Dutch (same bonuses), on June 20, 2022. Yes, but here it is: the devil lies in the paragraphs of the regulations.

First ambiguity: the Euro and the World Cup are sometimes excluded from the agreements. Since January 2020, the players of the English selection receive the same bonuses or bonuses linked to the results as the footballers. However, this is not the case for the two main competitions. “UEFA and Fifa give different sums, so there will still be big differences in bonuses. Unless the men redistribute what they get to equalize the sums”point Luc Arrondel. Lhe women’s selection that will win the Euro on July 31 will pocket 2.08 million euros. Un figure significantly lower than the 28.5 million collected last summer by Italy after its European coronation.

In addition, the definition of what a “bonus” is varies: is it the only remuneration of the federation for the participation of the players? Daily compensation? The commercial income drawn from the championship by the federation? Image rights? Ticketing ? Everyone has their own recipe. Some put everything in a common pot, others don’t. In 2017, even if Norway had introduced equal bonuses, Ada Hegerberg had slammed the door of the national team to express his dissatisfaction with the difference in treatment to which the women’s team was subjected.

The players of the France team, before their first match of Euro 2022 against Italy, July 10.  (OLI SCARFF / AFP)

On the side of France, the federation only opted for equality in the percentage of UEFA’s overall prize money (30%) donated to the players, as well as the technical support. Added to this are other rigidities in the economy of women’s football in the territory. “The championship has been professional in Italy, Spain and England since 2016, but in France, strangely, we still don’t talk about it”sorry Luc Arrondel.

“In France, the players have federal contracts, that is to say the same contract as the gardener of the stadium.”

Luc Arrondel, CNRS researcher

at franceinfo: sport

On the other hand, D1 Arkema was the highest paying league in Europe in 2017-2018 (with an average gross annual salary of 42,188 euros), according to the report. “Global Sports Salary Survey”. In women’s team sports, the French championship was even on the podium, behind the Women NBA and the Australian netball league.

“France was ahead at one point with Lyon, Montpellier and then PSG. It was innovative! But in England, there was an awareness with the organization of the Euro 2022″, says Luc Arrondel. And the researcher quotes the reforms carried out since 2016: “They rebuilt the championship, encouraged elite clubs to create a women’s section, offered high salaries. As a result, American internationals will now play more in England than in France and TV rights have been renegotiated to the tune of 8 million euros [contre 1,5 million en France]. Nevertheless, the two countries have one thing in common: the road to gender equality is still long.

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