PAY UP: Sam Kerr and Ellie Carpenter of Australia celebrate following their sides victory in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France between Australia and Brazil.
PAY UP: Sam Kerr and Ellie Carpenter of Australia celebrate following their sides victory in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France between Australia and Brazil. Michael Regan

Time for salary equity in sport for female athletes

OPINION: Sport is definitely a business. Last week the Forbes released the world's highest paid athletes list with Lionel Messi in first place earning $127 million in the past year.

The Argentinean and Barcelona player earned $92 million in salary and $35 million in endorsements.

Much discussion has been had about only one woman, Serana Williams making the list.

Earning $29.2 million last year, a paltry amount compared to Messi. Why are there no other women on the list?

At the moment female sport is breathing fresh air into the sports world with major focus on all types of sport including football (soccer), AFL, cricket and rugby league to name a few.

Never before in the history of sport have we seen as much media coverage for female sport. Why is it not represented on the top 100 list?

The simple answer is that male athletes are still way ahead in endorsement deals.

It is my observation that although the sport world has caught on about the ability of female sporting athletes that the marketing world is still of the opinion that it does not sell.

Are sports fans way out of touch or is there something else that the public is missing.

At present more than two dozen members of the US women's national soccer team have filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation.

The athletes say "institutionalized gender discrimination” exists in their pay, medical treatment, travel arrangements and overall workload.

This team is favourite to win the Women's World Cup which is currently being played and beamed into homes all over the world every night.

For me it is just not equitable. T. Bettina Cornwell, the head of the marketing department at the University of Oregon's business school, said that while the audiences for men's sports have been larger historically and command more from sponsors, fans have some power to help change how much athletes are worth.

"From a societal perspective, if you want to address disparities, then watch women's sport,” Cornwell said.

I for one watch as much female sport as I can. I enjoy the purity of women's rugby league and cricket compared to the men.

It is not all about power but more strategic and the way those sports were played in days gone by.

I speak to old time representative league and cricket players who share the same sentiment.

So what are you waiting for, become a change agent for women's sport.

This week watch some World Cup soccer or for a local perspective the women's rugby league State of Origin rugby league match on Saturday night.

You may be surprised. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Send your comments to: FraserCoast.Sport@frasercoastchronicle.com.au