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Why Aren’t Female Pros Earning the Same Kind of Money as Male Riders?

By Frantiska Blazkova

The infamous wage gap doesn’t seem to be closing anytime soon. It affects all fields of work, all kinds of sport disciplines, and day-to-day lives of women all over the globe. Cycling is no different – according to latest report, put together by Women on the Board UK (WOB), 75 per cent of Women’s World Tour team would not be paying riders. But the future isn’t as bleak as it seems and you have the power to help!

The aforementioned report was based on analysis of over 300 sports governing bodies and it also stressed that most of those bodies have fewer than 30 per cent female representation on the board. When representatives from WOB UK asked Tracey Gaudry, who is an ex-pro herself and is now the Vice President of the UCI, if she could comment on this issue, she said: “In cycling, while there has been a vast chasm historically between male and female remuneration and recognition – pay, conditions, prize money – much headway has been made in recent years in all disciplines including Road, BMX, MTB, Track and Cyclecross.”

Yurie Kanuma & Mai Tanaka (JPN), SEPTEMBER 17, 2016 - Cycling - Road : Women's Road Race B at Pontal during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by AFLO SPORT), Image: 300304586, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: NO THIRD PARTY SALES., Model Release: no, Credit line: Profimedia, TEMP Aflo
Yurie Kanuma & Mai Tanaka (JPN) at Women’s Road Race B during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

We know that women’s cycling is growing: brands are systematically reporting that the women’s cycling audience is getting bigger at a faster speed than the men’s. We see that in interest in content shifted towards women when it comes to riding, maintenance, and fitness advice. And the brands are seeing it in sales. But as the earlier mentioned report shows the differences are still massive.

The gap exists not only in salaries (if there are any for female riders) but also prize funds. The men’s winner of the Tour de France gets more than 1 Million Euros while the women’s winner of the Giro Rosa Tour of Italy receives around 1,500 Euro. The website Total Women’s Cycling pointed out last year that Elisa Longo Borghini took home £871 for her victory at the Tour of Flanders while the men’s winner Alexander Kristoff pocketed £14,365. The sad truth is that right now it isn’t commercially viable to cover women’s racing.

As we said, the change won’t happen overnight but things are slowly beginning to shift. Some races, major examples being the Tour de Yorkshire and the Ride London Classique, are taking a stand and adjusting their prize funds to be equal. Ride London even deployed a #PedalParity hashtag to encourage other races to do the same and even you can help the cause!

Here are some helpful (and working) tips:

1. Watch: YouTube channels, TV streams, broadcasts, video blogs – every number of viewers matter and helps with recognition, because where there are views, there is coverage and there is, ultimately, money and sponsors.

2. Follow: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., all your favorite teams and riders have at least one of these social media platforms, so don’t be afraid and get to know them up close and personal!

3. Share: once you’ve found your favorites don’t hesitate to share them with the world via your social media accounts, you never know who might like it and endorse it.

4. Search: through your favorite cycling websites and social media accounts for this specific topic and get the big picture, and ultimately find more thanks to many website’s ’You Might Also Like’ algorithms.