Wimbledon, the only Grand Slam tennis tournament to have unequal prizes for the men’s and women’s winners, is getting grief from all quarters for not following the lead of the Australian, French, and U.S. Open tournaments by paying equal prize money to men and women.
Critics of Wimbledon are portraying this as an issue of sex discrimination, which is pure nonsense. Unless of course, it’s discrimination when someone is paid slightly less for doing a lot less work. Let’s cut to the chase.
All through the tournament the men play the best 3 out of 5 sets to win, while the women only play the best 2 out of 3 sets. The fact is that the women will make about 5 percent less for actually playing a lot less than the men throughout the entire tournament, especially in the finals.
The men have to play at least 3 sets no matter what, while 3 sets is the most that the women will have to play.
Since 1980, the women’s final winner has won in two sets 14 times and had to go three sets to win 12 times. The average length of a Wimbledon women’s final match is 92 minutes with the shortest match lasting only 54 minutes and the longest match lasting 165 minutes. Only 8 times since 1980 has the women’s final lasted more than 100 minutes.
During this same stretch on the grass courts at the All-England Club the men’s winner won in 3 sets 13 times, 4 sets 7 times, and 5 sets 6 times. The average length of a Wimbledon’s men’s final match is 150 minutes with the shortest match lasting 80 minutes and the longest match lasting 256 minutes.
And these figures don’t even touch on how many more hours the men play over the course of the tournament than the women, nor does it take into account how many more hours of conditioning that the men need to log in order to be fit enough to play 5 set matches.
Oh and one more thing, last year the top 10 women at Wimbledon made more than the top 10 men.
But why let facts get in the way when people can knee-jerk react themselves into screaming about sex discrimination? Where are all of the men’s rights activists screaming about how the men have to prepare and play longer yet don’t see these extended hours of labor reflected in their pay, when compared to their distaff counterparts?
The men don’t complain because they’ve been told that they sound stupid, petty, and greedy when they make a big stink about stupid, petty, and greedy things.
Just because these other Grand Slam tournaments have done the wrong thing doesn’t mean that the folks who run Wimbledon have to make the same mistake. And the chairman of the All-English club should be commended for holding his ground.
The bottom line is that most of us would gladly make 5 percent less money if we could work 40 percent less time. I’ll bet the men’s players would take that deal. They wouldn’t have to bust their humps and spend all of the extra time training to be in shape to play 5 set matches, and in turn would make relative pennies less.
And rather than accusing the Wimbledon folks of having a “Victorian-era view,” like the president of the WTA did, he and the women on the tour should be happy that they are so well compensated despite working less hours than the men.
And it’s a little bit of a disappointment — but not a surprise — to hear Billie Jean King accuse the All-England Club of not doing “the right thing on the prize money issue.”
Here are some possible solutions for the women and their supporters to chew on:
1) They can be happy that the women make a tiny bit less despite playing a whole lot less.
2) In an effort to achieve true equality, they can offer to play 5 set matches.
3) Either Nos. 1 or 2, plus shutting up.Powered by Sidelines