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LukasCPH

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This issue has been discussed for some time.
Some say this, others say that - but all agree that it's a complicated issue without easy solutions.

Since Ella CyclingTips have written a good feature on it, I thought I'd start this thread and hopefully use this off-season to discuss the issue with the opinionated, but knowledgeable Veloroomites.

The complicated case of women’s cycling and minimum wages

Inside the business of women’s cycling: Until it’s profitable, wages are lacking (September 2015)

Women’s WorldTour, two-tiered system amongst changes proposed by UCI Women’s Working Group (March 2015)
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    Leadbelly

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    Since Ella CyclingTips have written a good feature on it, I thought I'd start this thread and hopefully use this off-season to discuss the issue with the opinionated, but knowledgeable Veloroomites.

    I can only speak for myself, but it's probably fair to say that none of us are knowledgeable enough to pass judgement. You need to find some boffins with economics degrees who have years of experience in business admin and sponsorship type stuff and then give them all the relevant figures ....... which is probably what the UCI did with the Women’s Commission mentioned in the article.

    My completely uneducated thought is it that it should be a couple of more steps down the line. Sort other things first and then (hopefully) the minimum wage will naturally follow as sponsorship and money in the sport increases. Those steps include the live coverage of more races and better marketing/promotion. Trying to do it (the min. wage) now feels like putting the cart before the horse.
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  • Caruut

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    You need to find some boffins with economics degrees...

    At your serv-

    ...who have years of experience in business admin and sponsorship type stuff

    -nevermind.

    It's a very difficult issue. You can't pay people with money that isn't there, but at the same time if you don't have the money to pay people properly for what they do for you, then there is an argument that you should not be doing it. All complicated by the fact that most of them would be cycling as amateurs if they did not have the opportunity to do so as professionals.

    "I’ve always wanted to be a professional athlete. Since the day I tied up a pair of running shoes at the age of seven, I had a complete fascination and fixation on the Olympics. I still remember watching the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and I thought to myself: ‘This is what I want to do’. So I guess as a kid and even a teenager I never thought about the money aspect of it. I just wanted to be Olympic champion," said Loren Rowney (Velocio-SRAM).

    "I managed to save a bit of money in the years after school. When I turned pro in 2012, I wasn’t on a salary, so I was pretty much self funded," said Rowney, who got picked up by Specialized-lululemon that year. "The first year I got $5000 USD. With the Australian international license and insurance costing $2800 and flights to the USA costing $1800, I wasn’t left with much [$400 - Caruut]."


    I get the feeling that they are avoiding setting a minimum right now because the level the teams could afford would be embarrassingly low, both in absolute terms and in terms of the contrast with men's cycling. So they avoid setting a minimum to avoid spelling out too plainly how bad the situation is. To me, this isn't really good enough. If it is embarrassingly low, then suck it up. Your embarrassment is less important than the livelihood of the poorest professional racers, and a low minimum is better than no minimum.

    To me it would be better to get a minimum of, say, $5000 and then work from there - perhaps splitting the division into fully-pro and semi-pro halves. If teams can't pay the minimum, then they aren't professional sports teams and shouldn't call themselves that.
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  • t-72

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    My point of view is that women's racing in road cycling suffers badly from being organized as a mostly separate circus to the men's events. A comparison with cross country skiing suggests that it would benefit a lot from having more co-hosted events (both for women and men).
    My roadside experience from watching men's U23, women elites and men elites roadside at salmon hill in Bergen was that the women's event was the most interesting one to watch, and they should not have to take a back seat to anyone. In cross country skiing they don't, but in cycling they do.

    What is needed is for the girls that are racing to convince girls that cycling is a great sport and make girls watch cycling. Sports for women need to tap the women's market share, and that is actually considered huge. Women typically has a major impact on family's investment decisions (stereotyping: "I need to buy n+1 bike please?" / "yes,  that ferrari looking like sportster, ok,  the toyota sedan then")  and the family's daily purchases. I don't think women's cycling are succeeding at that, but when they do - the future is wide open.

    So dear sisters, look to skiing: I actually bought a Johaug-branded frozen pizza on the way home this evening (and she has never been one of my favorites) it is just what they sell here...

    This is a bit of a derailing but if women's cycling was professional in getting women to watch cycling minimum wage would only be a factor that came in to consideration at the continental level (and yes there would be the need for that ...)
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  • Kiwirider

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    My roadside experience from watching men's U23, women elites and men elites roadside at salmon hill in Bergen was that the women's event was the most interesting one to watch, and they should not have to take a back seat to anyone. In cross country skiing they don't, but in cycling they do.

    So dear sisters, look to skiing: I actually bought a Johaug-branded frozen pizza on the way home this evening (and she has never been one of my favorites) it is just what they sell here...

    You don't have to look that far afield - although even over here in Canada I can vouch for your comments about the equal coverage for women's and men's XC ski ... and I'd add biathlon.

    As I say, you don't need to look to skiing.

    Check out the field depth in cyclocross and in the two main MTB codes. In many cases, the women's field is deeper than the men's - when literally a few years ago the situaiton was significantly the opposite. And, like your observation about the road races, often the women's racing is better. (Definitely the case in 'cross!)

    Not sure how MTB got there - but I know that in 'cross appealing to simple market forces didn't work. Like you say, women have a huge economic power ... but the marketing industry (= home of the sponsorship money) still seems to ignore that fact. In 'cross the main factor was the agitation of the riders (led by Helen Wyman) and the fact that eventually the governing bodies forced the race owners to comply.

    I suspect that a similar piece of regulation would be required here ... but I remain pessimistic of the chances of any change in road cycling. It is perhaps the most staid and conservative segment of cycle sport ... plus, let's be honest, there are plenty of people making a pretty penny at a suitable annual rate of growth out of men's racing. They have absolutely no interest in expanding their narrow view of the world.

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  • t-72

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    You don't have to look that far afield - although even over here in Canada I can vouch for your comments about the equal coverage for women's and men's XC ski ... and I'd add biathlon.

    Dude, maybe from Kiwiland looking to skiing is far afield but thrust me - I was born on two skis and to me comparing any sports with skiing is more like looking at my navel  :D no stress... at all. I would say that skiing is still the sport that I understand others by, as in you learn your mother tongue first and then when you get to school some important foreign language that you learn by translating back to mother tongue.

    Bottom line is, racing is fun watching if the fields are well balanced and the competition fair. It shouldn't matter if you are a boy or a girl but due to some fortunate biological differences field will be better balanced and competition more fair if kept separate. In all sports, women are the ones that will make women's sports great. Their dedication to the sport and the training it takes, their performances in competition but also their work convincing other women that 1) my sport is great 2) it is fun to particpate 3) it is fun to follow the top athletes and see how they fare against each other too!

    Handball and boxing are examples of sports where female athletes are actually making it pay and pay more than it does for their male counterparts over here. Both are actually quite tough endeavors, note I did not say "macho" but my point is: there is nothing that says it shouldn't work for cycling, if handball and boxing can become popular...
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  • « Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 06:48 by LukasCPH »

     



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