KERWIN: Ways women can shatter sexist policy we once supported

Shannon Kerwin, Associate Professor of Sport Management at Brock University, has a piece recently published in Sports Business Journal about ways to achieve systemic solutions for women in sports.

She writes:

“Women are undervalued compared to men on and off the field of sport — and we know this. But we also treat the symptoms instead of the illness.

In our silence around the inequality elephants in the room, we are all complicit — and neither men nor women are exempt from supporting the norms that drive our most sexist policy. 

These inequitable policies are so commonplace that we don’t see the forest for the trees. We see that women do not receive the same job opportunities, evaluations and pay as men in sport. As a prime example: the U.S. women’s national soccer team has documented unequal compensation where the World Cup champions were paid over $2 million less in bonuses than their male counterparts by the same federation. This is tangible evidence of the disparity in pay structure.

But there’s more beneath the surface. 

The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal work. With the soccer team, the workplace is the playing field, and the norm is in clear conflict with this equality policy. Here, the norm is to devalue women’s performance by suggesting that women do not deserve the same rewards for equal performance. Both men and women have upheld this norm by making claims that the women’s game is not as popular, exciting, or physically demanding as that of the men.

In countless examples, it becomes clear that we’re fighting systemic problems — so what do systemic solutions look like?”

Continue reading the full article here.

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