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Equality vs merit vs markets

(39 Posts)
MN164 Mon 21-Mar-16 08:10:11

Help me out. Instinctively, tennis pay should be the same for men and women. However, does merit or demand and the market come in to the debate at all?

Should people be measured on success or gender?

I'm confused, so help me out with the arguments for equality and egalitarianism here.

Mide7 Mon 21-Mar-16 08:27:53

I'm not going to offer any help MN but I'm glad you started this topic because I read it earlier and was equally confused.

SpeakNoWords Mon 21-Mar-16 08:31:54

Well, one question to ask is who decides when matches are scheduled on court and shown on TV? Who decides on how much time is dedicated to interviewing and discussing the men's tennis and the women's tennis? If prize money is to be distributed according to viewing/attendance figures it had better be very clear that the men's and women's matches are both given an equal footing so that they can compete equally.

This whole debate is spectacularly disappointing and just goes to show that women's sport is not valued at all, and that men's sport is the "real" sport and women should just be lucky they get anything at all.

Grimarse Mon 21-Mar-16 08:43:43

I have never understood why women don't demand to play the same number of sets as the men. Surely that would end the arguments. As for women's sport not being as valued - Wimbledon and the US Open pay both genders the same. I suspect other tournaments do too, but I can't be arsed googling them all.

SpeakNoWords Mon 21-Mar-16 08:49:19

Yes they do pay the same. That's not the point though, as clearly the attitudes of some of the men involved at the top of the sport doesn't match that fact. If it wasn't an issue, no one would mention it.

I don't really care whether the women play 5 sets or the men play 3, equalising it would be perfectly OK. But the fact is that at the moment the women are only being asked to play 3 sets.

Also, if the men's/women's matches are valued the same, why is that not reflected in the match scheduling? Why is the men's final the last match of most tournaments? Wouldn't it make sense to alternate it each year?

Do you really think that women's sport is equally valued compared to men's?

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Mon 21-Mar-16 08:51:28

Maybe if the women played 5 sets it would be the final match as it would be longer and (possibly) more interesting/exciting to watch?

Mide7 Mon 21-Mar-16 09:00:57

I know it goes deeper than this but if the male players bring in more money why shouldn't the earn more. I always think it's a chicken and the egg thing with women's sport. If more people were interested than it would receive more coverage but if it received more coverage then more people would be interested.

Grimarse Mon 21-Mar-16 09:03:35

Well look at it from Djokovic's point of view. Imagine you work a 5 day week, and your colleague does the same job only 3 days a week. Are you happy if you both get paid the same for doing the same work? Are you allowed to bring the subject up at work? What if only men were given the 3 day option, but all women had to work 5 days?

I think that most tennis tournaments are 3 set matches for both men and women. It may only be the majors that have the 5 set matches (I could be wrong here), so it wouldn't be a big upheaval for women to start playing 5 sets.

GreenTomatoJam Mon 21-Mar-16 09:16:07

Or, if time is the issue (which I understand it to be) then do as they do in UFC - standard matches are 3 sets, then the final (or past some pre-determined point), it switches to 5 sets.

SpeakNoWords Mon 21-Mar-16 09:28:40

Yes, equalise it, that would be absolutely fine by me. 3 sets or 5, whichever the tennis head honchos would prefer.

The point is that the womens game is seen as an add-on, a side issue, to the "proper" sport of the men's game. There is no value seen in encouraging women into sports. Grimarse, do you think women's sport is valuable as an entity on it's own?

WoTmania Mon 21-Mar-16 09:37:12

Grimarse, iirc women have asked for 5 set games but have been turned down (at Wimbledon) because it would interefere with the scheduling having the longer matches.

scallopsrgreat Mon 21-Mar-16 09:45:38

"I have never understood why women don't demand to play the same number of sets as the men." They have and still are.

scallopsrgreat Mon 21-Mar-16 09:46:32

"Well look at it from Djokovic's point of view. Imagine you work a 5 day week, and your colleague does the same job only 3 days a week. " But that isn't the case.

It would be like saying that a 100m sprinter gets paid a fraction of a marathon runner.

GunnyHighway Mon 21-Mar-16 10:46:27

Bit then the 100m is watched by more people than a marathon

SpeakNoWords Mon 21-Mar-16 11:01:29

Is it? What about the number of people watching it per second? Perhaps then marathon would compare more favourably? Also, you would need to consider the number of spectators in the stadium compared to the number of people watching on the streets. In fact, most marathons finish in the stadium, so that would mean more people watch the marathon as it includes street spectators plus stadium.

.... Or, you could consider both events of equal importance/value, and offer the same prize money. In fact, in the Diamond League series of events, there is no marathon but I suppose the same points still apply to the longest distance race versus the 100m. (Of course, in the Olympics, there is no actual prize money for the medallists, although individual nation's olympic organisations do give bonuses for medal winning.)

BertPuttocks Mon 21-Mar-16 11:20:52

Interestingly, this article states that the women's finals in the US Open actually had more viewers than then men's finals did:

It says:

"While there are still many more men leading corporate boardrooms around the world, when it comes to tennis women are taking center stage. For the last two U.S. Opens, the women's final scored higher TV ratings than the men's final. Now there's new data by a Nielsen-like ratings company, SMG Insight, that shows the global TV and digital audience for women's tennis rose 22.5% last year compared to 2013. This year those numbers are expected to grow even more."

It seems that the increased publicity from social media is at least part of the reason for this.

Grimarse Mon 21-Mar-16 11:29:17

The point is that the womens game is seen as an add-on, a side issue, to the "proper" sport of the men's game. There is no value seen in encouraging women into sports. Grimarse, do you think women's sport is valuable as an entity on it's own?

I think this might apply in more team sports, but not so much in individual sports. I am coming from a UK perspective, but successful sportswomen are very high profile. Jess Ennis, Beth Tweddle, Paula Radcliffe, Sally Gunnell, Denise Lewis, Ioanna Konta, Heather Watson, , Laura Robson, Kelly Holmes.....there are a lot of them who's achievements and success are very high profile. In fact, off the top of my head I can name more British women tennis players than men. I can only name Andy Murray and his brother. Team sports have a way to go, although the women's national football team (England) are getting there. And in the USA, women's football is much higher profile than men's, given how good they are.

MN164 Mon 21-Mar-16 11:32:54

Can we broaden the discussion to eliminate some points?

Football. Men and women play the same rules, same size pitch, same length of match. Disparity of pay is vast. This is clearly demand driven. Mostly men will pay mostly a fortune to watch in the stadium or on tv. Should the market decide and, if so, should women decide to pay up for women's football?

How would we work to bring female sports to an equal footing? Women not only need to want it but have to pay for it and demand it too.

MrNoseybonk Mon 21-Mar-16 11:35:01

Sport seems to be a special case, not readily comparable with a regular job.
Sadly, I don't think even merit comes into it, it's all down to how much money it leverages from the pockets of the fans.
I recently saw an article comparing men's footballer's pay to men's rugby player's pay and the difference was staggering, for sports which are similar in length of match and, importantly, a comparison between men and men.
Female olympic sports seem about as popular as male olympic sports, but both are not highly paid.

Grimarse Mon 21-Mar-16 11:40:22

Can we also establish that millions of men play football, and only a tiny proportion make a fortune? The disparity of pay between men is just about as big as that between the genders. You can't use UK Premier League wages as a median.

If you want to have all female sports on an equal footing, look at where it already is, and copy that blueprint. Tennis has a strong players' union, which is usually essential in raising the earnings of any group.

grimbletart Mon 21-Mar-16 12:10:44

A lot of people who are not knowledgable tennis fans witter on about women not playing 5 sets. To be clear: the only tournaments where men play 5 sets are Wimbledon, The French Open, the US Open and the Australian Open i.e. the grand slams + the Davis Cup, which is men only anyway. In all others men play 3. Yesterday, for example Djokovic beat Raonic at the Indian Wells final 6-1,6-2, a scoreline that is often used as a criticism of the weakness of women's matches.

Women players from as far back as Billy Jean King requested to play 5 set grand slams (because it gives a much greater chance of a comeback, as male players quite often do) and have consistently been told that schedules would not allow it.

In any case there is already a disparity between men's and women's prize money outside the Slams, with quite a large disparity between the ATP and WTP tours.

Personally, I do prefer to watch men's tennis, but there are many who prefer women's tennis.

It would be interesting to hear Andy Murray's views on this as he is a big supporter of women's tennis and has stood up for them in the past (as well as having a female coach).

SpeakNoWords Mon 21-Mar-16 12:21:21

Djokavic just comes across as petty and fairly desperate to have a go at women players. If you actually look at his earnings for the last year, he earnt way more than Serena Williams last year, $21m versus $10.5m. He's earnt much more than her over his career as well, but yep, he's hard done by, bless him. Only $97 million dollars prize monmey in his career to date, I'd be sad about earning that.

itllallbefine Mon 21-Mar-16 12:41:40

I'm kind of surprised by this from Djokovic, there's a very wide feeling that when federer eventually retires, men's tennis will become a whole lot less interesting....Nadal too. It's generally said that the reason for federers popularity is due to people preferring his style of play. So by Djokovics own yard stick he should be paid less than federer and nadal....I would not be surprised to hear that he earns less than federer, but the idea he would win less than him is surely beyond the pale.

vesuvia Mon 21-Mar-16 12:42:46

Grimarse wrote - "look at it from Djokovic's point of view. Imagine you work a 5 day week, and your colleague does the same job only 3 days a week. Are you happy if you both get paid the same for doing the same work?"

Djokovic won the 2013 Dubai Tennis Championship by winning five 2-set matches. He played fewer sets than Kvitova who won the women's event. Kvitova played the same number of matches, but she needed a third set to win her final. I believe they received equal prize money. Was that fair? Will Djokovic donate part of his prize money for that event to a charity or to Kvitova because he didn't play as many sets as Kvitova?

Mide7 Mon 21-Mar-16 12:53:50

A commission based work place came to my mind when I was thinking about this this morning but I'm 100% sure it works. If ( and its a big if because I don't know) he is generating more income for the tournaments/ sponsors then why shouldn't he expect more in return?

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