Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wimbledon: Women to get same pay for less work than men

I've just heard on the news that women are to receive the same prize money as men in the Wimbledon tennis championship this year. Sounds fair? I don't think so.

For a start, at Wimbledon, women's tennis matches are played over 3 sets rather than the 5 that men do. That means less "work" overall. Secondly, the women's game is stuffed full of very average players who just aren't very good. There really are very few good women's tennis players out there. That's less true for men's tennis which is far more competitive - even though men's tennis finals, like women's, tends to be dominated by the same two or three players.

I've no objection to women getting paid the same as men if they are doing the same "job" - as long as they are competing equally against men on an equal footing. If the women tennis players want to compete for the same prize money as men in tennis then get rid of the separate men's and women's tournaments and combine all the prize money into a unisex tournament.

I think the women tennis players would think differently once they realise that they aren't getting much beyond the second round and are collecting considerably less prize money.

I should admit, here, that I do have something of an axe to grind on this subject. In the company I work for I have three women colleagues who all do the same job as me and who are on the same pay scale - but they all earn considerably more than I do (we're talking in the region of £20,000 - £25,000 more). Two of them are younger and have considerably less experience in the role than I do, one is the same age and has slightly more experience than me. One of the younger women has spent almost 2 years on maternity leave - on full pay - over the last 4 years after giving birth to her 2 children. I was allowed a week (unpaid) when my youngest was born eight years ago.

If they were men and I were a woman, I could kick up a fuss about "sexual discrimination" and the company would fall over themselves to ensure parity, but because I'm a man they don't want to know. Believe me, I've tried.

I'm reasonably well paid, so it shouldn't really bother me - and, to be honest, it wouldn't do except for the fact that I'm always hearing how women are "discriminated" against in the workplace. In fact, just the other day, I had one of my team moaning at me because she earns less than one of her male colleagues. He's married, mortgaged, with kids, ten years older than her (single, living with parents even though she's nearly thirty), has been in the job for some 5 years more than her and is ten times better than her at what they do - but she is complaining because he earns about 5% more than her!!

I have no objection to women's rights to equal pay for equal work - but only if women are competing with men on an equal footing, are proving themselves against men in the same role and only if it cuts both ways.


gerry said...

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xoggoth said...

Yeh. Blogged on this before a year or two ago, although to be fair one of the Williams sisters (forget which now) campaigning for it did say they should also play five sets.

However, a more relevant point in a free market is that one's worth is whatever people are freely prepared to pay and as I understand it, the women's matches don't bring in as much money. X% of the receipts, gate, TV rights etc, for a given match would be fair.

Anonymous said...

I think you're wrong. Women do 'less' work because they CANNOT do more, physically speaking. It is not that they're unwilling to do so or are too lazy for it. They simply CAN'T.

If women can play as much as men, then I take back my argument. But if what I'm saying is true, then I think they should be paid as much.

You get your pay relative to your effort and your capabilities. If this is the maximum women can do, then it's ridiculous to give them less money.