It’s a conversation that has been ongoing for years. Much like many workplaces in Canada, women in sports are paid less than their male counterparts.
Andrea Katz with Fit Communications in Winnipeg, says it could possibly be because they aren’t getting the same amount of coverage as men.
“About 4.7 per cent of all sports coverage is females in sports,” Katz said. “That’s 95 per cent for males, so that’s obviously a major issue.”
But just having more viewers doesn’t guarantee more pay.
In curling, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts final between Rachel Homan’s Ontario rink and Chelsea Carey’s Team Alberta was watched by an average 762,000 viewers, while the Tim Horton’s Brier final saw 659,000 viewers. The women’s champions were paid $32,000, compared to the men’s champions, who were paid $70,000.
Katz thinks more can be done by business to sponsor more female athletes.
“That way, the purses can increase and the athletes can make a more equal pay,” she said.
Curling Canada issued a statement saying their “title sponsors provide quite significant support to the athletes and to the sport.”
In national championships, both men’s and women’s teams have a pool of performance money allocated for athletes making it to the national championships (will vary based on number of games won), share equally in our athlete assistance funding,” Curling Canada CEO Katherine Henderson wrote.
“They are also compensated for ‘cresting’ — that is wearing our national sponsors brand name on their jerseys. Should they win, they are eligible for equal funding envelopes related to becoming ‘Team Canada’ over and above the purse.
“A long-held and very beautiful tradition has been the awarding of custom diamond jewelry to the provincial and territorial women’s teams to commemorate their experiences and it is celebrated in a ceremony that all the athletes enjoy. The value of the jewelry, along with our prize purse along with the above funds would make the women’s compensation very close to the men’s.”
While the coverage and money for women participating in sport might not always be equal, Katz says that shouldn’t discourage female athletes from playing the sports they love.
–With files from The Canadian Press