Want equality in sport? Here’s a club that didn’t stuff around

27 November 2017 Comments 2

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that the gender pay gap is no more apparent than in the world of sport.

Notwithstanding the advance that that has been made by women in some sports and in some countries, the Global Sports Salaries Survey (GSSS) (released yesterday) put together by my friend Nick Harris of Sporting Intelligence shows just how stark this gap is.

The discrepancy is all too evident in many parts of the working world, and women’s treatment in sport is reflective of a wider gender inequality.

In sport, it began in the Victorian era and was perpetuated by 19th century well-meaning folk, such as Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics who described women’s sport as “unaesthetic”.

Unfortunately, as sport has evolved, professionalised and become bigger and bigger businesses, that sort of attitude also become self-perpetuating.

Women not only get paid less, they have had fewer opportunities to play and have not had the same access to coaching and facilities. Because women are not paid as much, they also don’t have as much time to improve their skills because they need a ‘proper’ job to earn a living, don’t receive the same level of corporate and broadcast support, and so on and on it goes. It’s a vicious cycle.

It was, in fact, the concept of equal pay for male and female football players at one particular club that attracted me to them – Lewes FC and their ground-breaking initiative known as Equality FC.

And I am absolutely delighted to let you know that SKINS has entered into a relationship with Lewes FC to help support their fantastic work.

Lewes FC is the first pro or semi-pro club in the world to pay its women’s team the same as its men’s team.

Their women’s team plays in the Women’s Premier League which is the third tier of the national system. Their men’s team plays in the eighth tier. Both teams play once a week and train twice a week. Both teams are as professional as the other in their attitude to training. Both teams play at the same home ground.

When the community took over the ownership of the club, they decided that both teams should get the same level of resources too.

After Equality FC was announced earlier this year, Norway became the first national FA to introduce the same for their national women’s team.  The mighty US women’s national team is also fighting for equal pay with the men’s team. All around the world, women’s sports – in football, cricket, basketball, hockey, netball, tennis, Aussie Rules – are advocating for a bigger and fairer slice of the pie.

Lewes FC just went ahead and did it. They are setting the pace for women’s sport.

It’s the sort of vision and commitment that we’re proud to support as a sponsor.

Sure, we’ve done the easy part with the supply of product. But for us, it’s not just about the product – though obviously, we like you to see our gear, buy it, wear it, experience it and share it!

We’ve also purchased one Lifetime Ownership share from Lewes FC. It’s not an ownership share where we’ve handed-over some corporate dollars, sat back and said ‘Thanks for that, we’ll see you at the AGM for canapés and a pint’.

The cost of an ownership share is a modest £1,000. SKINS as a company is paying half; I’m proud to say that SKINS staff and global partners are contributing the rest out of their own pockets. They want to because everyone who is part of the SKINS team lives and breathes SKINS’ values.

For us, it’s another way of helping to level the sporting field for all. We help highlight corruption and wrongdoing in sporting bodies. We shine a light on racism, sexism and homophobia in sport. We rail against inequality. We campaign and advocate for the rights of workers building mega sporting event infrastructure. And we help give power to fans in the relationship between fans and clubs.

Congratulations Lewes FC on this wonderful initiative. We’re delighted to be partnering with you.

2 comments on "Want equality in sport? Here’s a club that didn’t stuff around"

  1. Fliss Evans on 28 November 2017

    Good one. Thanks for telling us about this

  2. Daniel on 2 December 2017

    Do Skins publish their endorsement payments and do you have gender equality across the company pay structure both internal and externally?

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