Settlement brings to light gender-based discrimination in athletics
It recently came to light that the University of Connecticut will pay $249,539 to seven female employees who are underpaid in comparison to their male counterparts, according to an audit from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Five of the seven women were involved in the athletics department at UConn. Although UConn maintains the wage gap was not due to gender discrimination, this does raise concerns regarding athletics at UConn, and the repeated pattern of underpaying women in athletics more broadly.
UConn should not have a wage gap between male and female employees. It is necessary to dismantle these discriminatory practices and change the system completely to ensure employees at UConn, especially in the field of athletics, receive equal wages.
Across the U.S., women often make less than their male counterparts. Currently, women on average make about 82 cents for every dollar a man makes — and this does not take into account the fact that women of color generally make less than this.
This is concerning; such significant wage gaps should not be present in this day and age. Females athletes and females involved in athletics are often underpaid compared to male athletes and males involved in athletics, which is evident in U.S. sports teams.
Recently the U.S Women’s Soccer Team filed a lawsuit regarding equal pay on the basis that they constantly outperform the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team, who failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2018, and that overall the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team brings in more revenue than the men’s team.
According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, male athletes get about $179 million more in athletic scholarships than females. Colleges and universities often spend an average of only 24% of their athletic budget on women’s sports. Especially at a university like UConn, where the women’s basketball team is extremely high-performing and one of the top teams in the country, those involved in women’s athletics should be paid adequately. UConn should not be a part of this systemic gender discrimination. Thankfully, it appears that UConn is moving away from this.
In addition to the settlement, UConn has agreed to review and revise outdated pay practices. Hopefully this will ensure women involved in athletics at UConn are treated fairly. This is a good first step, and we hope the women in the athletics department receive wages comparable to their male counterparts.
We would, however, like to see more transparency from the university regarding this issue. We would like to know how specifically these pay practices will be implemented, how they will help ensure that gender wage discrimination is eliminated and how UConn will fix the problem at it’s root. Once UConn is able to answer these questions will we know that the problem has truly been resolved.