When researching the difference between careers men have in professional sports versus women, two major factors arose - biology and compensation. These two factors seem to be the result of a gender gap in the sports industry. Now while we’ve come a long way as a society when it comes to acceptance in the industry, we still have a long way to go. Here we break down the research found while debunking some of the myths as Alberta’s Premier Junior Female Hockey League:
There has been long research that there are athletic differences between men and women, specific to height, weight, muscle mass, body fat and aerobic capacity. The genetics and hormones of each individual, regardless of their gender, affect how they perform. According to Sports Rec, women can compete on par with men in sports that require physical balance and mental concentration.
While we can’t deny science and reality, this performance reference doesn’t always remain true. Some talent may come from genetics, but it also comes from hard work and dedication. As many of our players understand, time on the ice (or whichever location your sport requires) and reflecting on what works and what doesn’t is key to increasing performance level.
We also acknowledge that proper nutrition, exercise and lifestyle balance are important factors that affect performance ability as well.
The pay gap between men and women has been discussed in research for many years. According to Adelphi University, the pay gap currently sits at 80%-83% since 2004, industry aside. However, the gap in sports comes in well above average - 94%. Compensation for women in professional sports has changed over the last decade thanks to difficult conversations and exposure of the industry, but “the gap still extends to even the world’s highest-paid players.”
We’re happy to see specific sport leagues like tennis have made differences in the pay gap while increasing equal pay in all four major tennis tournaments. However, the real change lies in managers, owners and other administrators. At a professional level, an agent should be able to advocate for fairer wages as well.
Marketing is also a way to attract more fans to a league, therefore; increasing revenue. Mainstream media can encourage the coverage of all leagues to help close the gap.
Now, this may be a controversial topic and one that makes many of us uncomfortable. However, we believe in being open and honest about the facts. Bringing our players and fans of the league our thoughts and acknowledgements is important to us. We want everyone to succeed, and perform to their best ability regardless of their gender.
1. Adelphi University. “Male vs. Female Professional Sports Salary Comparison” Sports Management Articles, 20 May 2021, https://online.adelphi.edu/articles/male-female-sports-salary/. Accessed 15 September 2022.
2. Lee, W. Lexa. “How Do Men and Women Differ Athletically” Sports Rec, 11 December 2018. https://www.sportsrec.com/mens-college-basketball-purdue-boilermakers.html. Accessed 13 September 2022.
Alberta Junior Female Hockey League
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