Guest for the Day: Vedika Mehendale!
Last week, before their men’s team started their game against Iceland, the Football Association (FA), the football federation of the United Kingdom, announced that both, their men and women international teams would be paid equally to represent them. Just a few hours later, the Brazillian Football Confederation (CBF) also announced that they would be paying all international players equally, regardless of their sex. This is following the protests of the USA women’s National Team protested for equal wages at the beginning of the year.
Today, avid feminist, reader, writer and somewhat football enthusiast, Vedika Mehendale has joined me to explain how she interprets the FA and CBF’s moves and whether she thinks they actually make a difference regarding the current football scenario world-over
Upon asking her what she felt now that such a move was implemented, she pointed out, ‘One of the most common answers to “Why do we still need Feminism?” is the pay gap between men and women’, also saying that for countries recognised to be advanced and still not treat all members performing the same tasks equally, is a clear form of hypocrisy.
The announcement by FA lead to many people – supporters, players, commentators – to take to social media and celebrate this decision as only a few months ago, they were sympathising for the USA women’s team. Though in support of the decision, Vedika believes that an obligatory activity should not be celebrated in such away. “It is sad indeed when we feel the need to celebrate the fact that men and women are getting paid equally, which they fundamentally should have been if they are equally competent But, alas, progress comes in steps and phases and we are witness to one such step.”
According to her, this move by the two governing bodies should be a big move for feminists and women, in general, because due to certain traditional general roles dictated by society, women are supposedly not as good at sports as men. “This, however, is not the case in reality.” She ends on a happy note, “I am glad that this is finally being acknowledged by the leading teams in football. This will certainly help in eliminating the misconceptions when it comes to women’s abilities at sports. I hope that other teams follow suit soon and help us all progress.”
While Vedika makes strong points in the favor of the governing bodies, I have a few points that go against this specific move made by them. Don’t get me wrong when I say this, but I believe that women’s football is just on its meteoric rise and the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019 was made the second most-watched sporting event in the calendar year with over a billion viewers watching the competition
The FIFA Women’s World Cup of 2019 had more than 50% viewers than the same event from its 2015 version. This point may lead you to believe that the women have done enough to earn as much as men, but when you throw in the comparison regarding the viewerships of the FIFA Men’s World Cup in 2018 and the Women’s World Cup in 2019, only a third of the population tuned in for the women’s game.
Yes, the 2019 WWC was watched more than the 2018 MWC in the USA, only, however, because the women’s team ended up lifting the trophy. Unfortunately for women in the sport, that kind of viewership could never earn them the same amount as the men.
The FA and CBF come into the picture here. Since these two bodies want to associate the sport with equality, they somehow raise enough funds to match the two squad’s wages. But, you too, ask yourself whether you think of the equality in the teams when you say the words ‘English football team’ or ‘Brazillian football team’.
However, I’m not against equal pay and wages among the men and women’s squad at all. The only reason I’m putting forward these points is to signify the growth of women’s football. More people watched the Women’s World Cup final than the prestigious Wimbledon final. Yes, I want women to be paid the same amount as men are, but I also want to see them earning the right. If the trend continues, the Women’s World Cup of 2023 will have about 1.8 billion viewers, and maybe then, they deserve to be paid the same amount as the men are paid.
If you disagree with either Vedika or my comments, be sure to express yourself in the comments. All suggestions are welcome, too. I would also like to thank Vedika for the points she put forward and for expressing her views on the topic.