Equal Pay for Equal work at Wimbledon

For many tennis fans Wimbledon provides a great two weeks or drama and excitement. No more so than this year, with Andy Murray becoming the first British champion since Fred Perry 77 years ago. However while many of us have enjoyed another good couple of weeks at Pay Justice we get reminded of the ignorance surrounded by equal pay.

So what is the equal pay debate that surrounds Wimbledon?

It wasn’t until 2007 that women received equal prize moment to men at Wimbledon. This came about after considerable pressure from the most influential female player at the time Venus Williams and the women’s Tennis Association.

So women finally get equal pay-end of story right? Well not exactly. A quick search on the main social media sites finds hundreds of debates and arguments with many people suggesting that it is unfair.

So what’s all the fuss and why is there still an ongoing debate?

The argument against women receiving equal prize money goes a bit like this: “Women only play best of 3 sets and men play best of 5 sets. If you look at the amount of time those women play and the amount of time that men play the men spend far more time on court than the women do and so they should be paid more. What’s more they receive much higher attendances and much higher viewing figures.”

So what is wrong with this statement? Well quite a lot actually.

It seems to assume that the work of a professional sports person is solely the short period of time that that person is playing a competitive match. It doesn’t take into account the hours spent training getting up early and working day in day out pushing their body to the extremes. It simply doesn’t make sense to say that the women at the top of the game spend any less time doing their job than the men. Both are completely dedicated to their sport and work far harder than us mere mortals. Perhaps a bigger flaw in the statement is that it doesn’t take into account that they money is prize money. It is money that is awarded to the best player in the tournament. Some times matches are quick and sometimes matches are long. But this is irrelevant because the prize money is given to the winner of the competition, the person that beats all the opponents put in front of them. It is not paid on an hourly rate and it is not a salaried job. The women that’s beats all other opponents has done everything in her power to show that she is a worthy champion-what more can you ask? She has done exactly the same as the man.

It would be a very simple case if it wasn’t for the fact that women play best of 3 sets and men play best of 5. This is just a scoring system, a way of working out who the winner is. So can women play best of 5 sets? Yes of course they can. Thinking anything else is just plain sexist. They are supper fit athletes. This is why more women are able to play in both the singles and the doubles competitions while top men can only play in the singles. Playing best of 5 sets is just more exerting on your body than playing best of 3 sets regardless of your gender.

So is the best way of ending the equal pay debate at Wimbledon to change the scoring system in the men’s game so they only play 3 sets or perhaps to change it so that women play best of 5? Please let us know your thoughts below

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