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EQUAL PAY?
« on: March 21, 2018, 21:05 »
Clearly I have to preface this thread with standard excuses about not being a complete and utter mysogenist; being supportive of equal rights and where comparable equal pay, and also equal opportunities regardless of sex, sexual orientation, colour, creed, etc etc.

But ....

I take exception to Liz Deignan's latest piece on equal prize money:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/43490825

I am not interested in a tennis style argument regarding comparable effort, road days, or miles, or intensity that is not my point and I note that it is only the lame Beeb hack that has hinted that a two day race might be comparable to the full TdF.

My issue is that the financials of many women's sports including cycling do not equal the those within the men's events.  The level of sponsorship, the level of public interest and attendance or viewing figures are a fraction of the more established men's events.  This given time and support will change, and there is no reason at all why there is not a future parity state.  I read a great piece about the obsolescence of the term women jockeys in British horse racing, as trainers and owners now realize the term is superfluous and defunct as men and women compete equally.

 However that state does not exist in football where some are agitating for the Norwegian model of equal pay, regardless of the public interst to be established in Britain and most certainly not in women's cycling at present where the level of public and therefore sponsor interest and funding lags behind the men's events.

I have no issue if British race organisers decide to offer parity, to serve their own PR agendas, and I think there is a huge need to create a more viable and comparable calendar of events to build the character and persona of women's road racing,  but I can't agree to Deignan's suggestion that all races are now paid equally - this is really just a case of the men's event subsidising the women's race, and I am not sure all of the women racers would seek to be patronised in that way.

Ok Lukas help me see the light!

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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re: EQUAL PAY?
    « Reply #1 on: March 22, 2018, 08:22 »
     This subject is at the top of the BBC agenda, in case anybody hadn't noticed. :D
    They have several articles on golf lately, hailing the introduction of a couple of mixed tournaments.
    Yes, I know they are handicapped, (different tees, lower ranked men etc) but the majority of comments that weren't outright misogynist rants did make the same points as you, in your post.
    The bottom line was that they felt that there just wasn't the interest in the Woman's Tour, (media, viewing etc) therefore the sponsorship wasn't there, so the Men's Tour was being used to prop up ( or fund, as you say) their calendar.

    Another similarity between golf and cycling is that rarely do both tours compete at the same venue.

    So, it's not just a case of sponsors funding equally, but different sponsors funding equally.

     Now look at yesterday's race in De Panne and what takes place today, as this is very interesting.
    Perhaps running counter to the argument, but initiated due to negative influences.

     The Driedaagse De Panne loses calendar slot to Dwars, which leads to a fall off of interest from WT teams.
    So, men's race cut from four stages to just one, but the organisers add a women's race which then goes straight onto the WWT calendar.

     It's a bit like what has gone on at the BBC to me: Robbing Peter to pay Pauline.
    Now, while that might by viable in those well off circles, I'm pretty sure it won't work around cycling's poverty row.
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    Caruut

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    Re: EQUAL PAY?
    « Reply #2 on: March 22, 2018, 15:32 »
    It is difficult to know what to think. On the one hand, a disparity of this scale feels wrong to me. On the other, as you two have said, there are genuine financial reasons why this can't happen. Ultimately I don't think anyone wants to be in a situation where women's cycling is constantly financially dependent on men's cycling. In an ideal world, women's cycling would be a self-sustaining concern that provides a roughly equal number of competitors with roughly equal compensation as you would find in men's cycling.

    Complete equality is unfeasible; there are the different sponsors as MV mentioned, and also the fact that at the very top, each rider is truly unique, and demand for their services is very much related to the current state of play. Take Oss last year, there really was only one gold star classics dom going, so his wages are determined as much by need as anything else. If three major classics doms are looking for new contracts but the biggest stars don't have the budget left over that year, then wages will reflect that. Still, to me rough equity is the only possible goal.

    What's troubling is that it feels from the outside that there isn't really a gameplan to take us to that point. Of course robbing Peter to pay Pauline is a bad idea, but what about borrowing from Peter to invest in Pauline? It feels to me like women's cycling is stuck in a bit of a rut. To get higher pay they need more sponsorship money, but it feels like teams aren't being put in a position where they can offer an attractive product to sponsors. Not enough TV coverage, and not enough major events that mirror the men's calendar.

    I'm no lawyer, but I can't imagine ASO would be particularly happy if I said that I was setting up a Paris-Roubaix feminin and a Tour de France feminin. This to me gets to part of the problem; tradition is important in cycling. There are hypothetical races out there that would be marketable, but the people who hold the trademarks are unwilling to play ball. It feels ridiculous that there is no concerted effort to mirror the "prestige structure" of monuments and grand tours that would give the casual fan of men's cycling some point of entry into the sport. Additionally, as the De Panne episode and earlier incidents like the ASO takeover of Paris-Nice show, it's hard out there for an independent race organiser. There are clearly economies of scale in race organisation, so quite apart from legal issues, the organisers of men's races probably do need to be involved.

    On some level it feels like the UCI considers itself responsible for men's cycling; if men's cycling is in need of business development the UCI is there, but if women's cycling needs help then it's "sorry it's up to the market, clearly there's no demand for this". The UCI has spent millions (and through forcing teams to race in WT events in China, eg., implicitly spent even more) on spreading the "cycling product" across the globe. This is what it is, some hate it, some love it, but it's a legit function of a governing body. But then if women's cycling says "we really need you to put pressure on ASO", the attitude feels much more "sink or swim ladies" than "we'll see what we can do".

    With all that said, what do I think the solution is?

    1. At an absolute minimum, women's versions of the Giro, Tour and monuments (I'd take 14 day GTs, 21 is too long anyway). Ideally, also women's versions of the major classics and weeklongs.

    2. TV coverage of these events, and assurances from broadcasters showing men's events that the two will be integrated on some level - eg. no ridiculous scenarios like at Flanders a year or two back when we were shown live images of the men's race tootling along while there was a dramatic finale in the women's.

    3. A real strategy of how to use the men's calendar to boost interest in women's cycling. Of course it's not really possible to run two GTs in one country at a time - not enough helis and motos! But, there are a couple of dead zones in the men's calendar - late May/early June and late July/early August - after the Giro and Tour into which a women's Giro and Tour would slot nicely, hopefully also being able to make the most of public interest. A women's race in the USA during the Tour would also dovetail nicely, being able to start roughly as a Tour stage finished, diverting viewers over.

    4. A timeline for some form of equal pay. I think the most realistic form, given the fundamental constraints on "true" equal pay MV and I have outlined, is for equality in minimum pay and equality in prize money. I suspect 'equal pay now' isn't feasible, so wouldn't want to immediately impose it. If 3 or 4 teams went under, that would set back progress far more. A timeline would be ideal as it outlines the goals and the conditions needed to realise them (ie how much sponsorship money do we need to pay properly, what kind of calendar would support that level of sponsorship). This focuses minds and allows people in, say, 5 or 10 years time to assess progress and say "yes we're doing okay", or "no we aren't", as opposed to the current situation in which we say "we need more interest, but for that we need a proper calendar, but for that we need more money, but for that we need more interest".
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  • L'arri

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    Re: EQUAL PAY?
    « Reply #3 on: March 23, 2018, 10:40 »
    Nice reference, Caruut. Not sure if it was your intent to allude to Sagan and Ferrand-Prévot as vedettes on each side of the sport or whether it is just chance that they're called Peter and Pauline and have that sort of status. :P

    In the article quoted, Deignan uses the word "excuse", as in "no excuses". For there to be an excuse, there must be an obligation. For there to be an obligation, it seems to me, there must be a healthy, secure sport with a long-term management vision on which it can be imposed.

    This is why I think that a minimum salary should be an absolute requirement for the women's peloton and (perhaps more controversially) female staffers.

    It has to be enough for women to choose the sport as a viable career path. Few riders publicly offer detailed explanations for their decisions to retire but viability has to be one of the most common. You have to be driven, a real cycling nut, to spend a decade at subsistence level while your mates get on the career and housing ladders and perhaps eventually start their families too.

    As an Olympian, for example, Jolien D'Hoore gets a bit of help. But I still wondered, a couple of years ago when I saw her buying stuff at the LBS with her own money, she had to watch the pennies, while in my complacency I had just assumed that, when I saw much the same thing another time, that idiot Lagutin would just submit his receipts as expenses.

    A decent length of career and the adequate recompense that goes with it must be a possibility at the élite level otherwise everything is temporary.

    If this possibility doesn't exist, careers will remain short, raw talent will not develop, the quality of the peloton will remain shallow and the attractiveness of the racing to sponsors and spectators will never establish a baseline.

    The mentality of riders will be to keep one eye always beyond cycling so that the experience they accrue is much more likely to be lost unless, like Carmen Small, Ina Teutenberg or a handful of others, they fill one of the DS spots not already monopolised by men or, like Liesbeth Decroix, they operate as a sports scientist or in an analogous profession serving a more general clientèle.

    For the moment, it seems to me that women still have little practical control over the destiny of their own sport and that should be a priority.
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  • « Last Edit: March 23, 2018, 11:00 by L'arri »
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    Re: EQUAL PAY?
    « Reply #4 on: March 24, 2018, 12:54 »
    I was thinking - cyclo cross seems to be a very healthy model - the men's and women's races are highly comparable in terms of interest, contest, and attractiveness to fans, viewers and therefore sponsors, and whilst there is a hierarchy - with the men's race always the final event, the women's race is an integral part of any given Sunday, so that when it takes place a day earlier - say for the worlds there is a sense of a less complete day.  So a good basis for equal prize money, and equal pay.

    However on the subject of pay, outside of prize money..

    is why I think that a minimum salary should be an absolute requirement for the women's peloton and (perhaps more controversially) female staffers.


    whilst I agree with your inference; it is also true that outside of WT level, particularly at conti level,  many male riders are competing, for just bike, kit, food and lodging kind of deals, hoping to make a financial breakthrough, and that is all that the precarious 3rd tier finances will sustain, so some time before women's world tour could really justify payment to all.

    I also wonder if Rochelle Gilmour were to withdraw her patronage, how many of the teams outside of her own would hit trouble, as she is rumored to co fund others for the betterment of the sporting spectacle, and with an eye on longer term growth.  But I am going fairly substantially off (my own) topic here!

     
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: EQUAL PAY?
    « Reply #5 on: March 25, 2018, 10:00 »
    whilst I agree with your inference; it is also true that outside of WT level, particularly at conti level,  many male riders are competing, for just bike, kit, food and lodging kind of deals, hoping to make a financial breakthrough, and that is all that the precarious 3rd tier finances will sustain, so some time before women's world tour could really justify payment to all.
    The thing is that at the men, we currently have three levels of UCI teams - WT, ProConti, and Conti, all with different degress of professionalism.
    On the women's side, these are all bunched together as "UCI Women's Teams", with absolutely no official differentiation.
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    Re: EQUAL PAY?
    « Reply #6 on: March 25, 2018, 11:50 »
    Yes agree & having looked at this in a real world setting, is that because the business case around sponsor support of a top level women's team is just about as marginal as the kind of patronage (head ruling heart - no real yield needed) RoI from a conti level men's team.  So whilst it is great that some interesting brands are involved the blue chips, who have CFO's to persuade as well as cycling smitten CMO's are mainly notable by their absence?

    Again apologies sponsorship is not the same argument as equalising prize funds, but all part of the same Eco system I guess
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: EQUAL PAY?
    « Reply #7 on: March 25, 2018, 18:10 »
    Yes agree & having looked at this in a real world setting, is that because the business case around sponsor support of a top level women's team is just about as marginal as the kind of patronage (head ruling heart - no real yield needed) RoI from a conti level men's team.  So whilst it is great that some interesting brands are involved the blue chips, who have CFO's to persuade as well as cycling smitten CMO's are mainly notable by their absence?
    To be honest, this is much the same case for men's WT teams with >20-million budgets. :P

    The problem I have with it is that everything from the very best to the 'just barely better than your cycling club next door' is regulated by the same rules - and that is never going to be a good fit for either.

    If a "UCI Pro Women's Team" category were introduced, with minimum wage requirements, that would most likely mean that only a few teams would continue in this highest category, with the others being relegated to a 'second division'. But to me, that's not a bad thing - don't cap the number of PWTs[1] (for now), and give the non-pro teams something to aspire to!

    I'd rather see WWT races with 8-12[2] actual pro teams where I know the riders (and staff) earn a living wage, supplemented with national selections and/or wildcards, than the current set-up where everything is just intransparent and vague.
     1. should I get this trademarked?
     2. this number could grow further, and would over time
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  • L'arri

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    Re: EQUAL PAY?
    « Reply #8 on: March 26, 2018, 13:55 »
    Classic "chicken and egg" situation. Do you try to further professionalise the sport in order to attract the money or do you try to financially secure the sport in order to professionalise it?
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  • t-72

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    Re: EQUAL PAY?
    « Reply #9 on: March 29, 2018, 08:10 »
    Confession: I haven't read all the above posts yet, but I did write a draft after reading the top post which now needs serious reworking before it is up to date. However, meanwhile, the inequality documented in the attached tweet (which documents the prize money handed out by the Flanders Classics organization for the DDV 2018: this is far too much inequality.

    https://twitter.com/TheSlowRidePod/status/978968154633318400

    If the race organizers cannot by themselves come around to make this an attractive sport for women, they might need some help although it is unlikely that a weak regulatory body such as the UCI can demand better terms for women.
    Riders and fans need to come together and demand that the organizers put their calendar on fast forward, so that they wake up and find themselves in 2018, not ... 1918? They're archaic!  :o

    Cycling needs to change in these aspects and it is not for the good of women, it is for the good of cycling. Women are the largest group of bike buyers, potential riders and sponsor's target audience groups the sport is not connecting too in a good way, and it is easy to see that it is the organizers own fault.

    ADDING:I am going to make a table out of the documentation and update this post as it seems tweets have stopped rendering again..


    Post Merge: March 29, 2018, 09:00
    PLACINGMEN WOMEN DIFFERENCE REL.DIFFERENCE
    1 16 000 € 379 € 15 621 € 41
    2 8 000 € 326 € 7 674 € 24
    3 4 000 € 272 € 3 728 € 14
    4 2 000 € 164 € 1 836 € 11
    5 1 600 € 152 € 1 448 € 10
    6 1 200 € 141 € 1 059 € 8
    7 1 200 € 130 € 1 070 € 8
    8 800 € 119 € 681 € 6
    9 800 € 109 € 691 € 6
    10 400 € 97 € 303 € 3
    11 400 € 87 € 313 € 4
    12 400 € 76 € 324 € 4
    13 400 € 53 € 347 € 7
    14 400 € 42 € 358 € 9
    15 400 € 28 € 372 € 13
    16 400 € 28 € 372 € 13
    17 400 € 28 € 372 € 13
    18 400 € 28 € 372 € 13
    19 400 € 28 € 372 € 13
    20 400 € 28 € 372 € 13
    sum 40 000 € 2 315 € 37 685 € 16

    The relative difference is here expressed as the difference between men's prize money and women's prize money divided by the women's prize money: how many times more women's prize money need to be paid to achieve equality. In other words the women's winner need to be paid 41 times more in addition to what she's already paid before equality is reached. The inequality is so large it doesn't make sense to express it as percentages. Yikes!

    Fun fact: to race in a more gender-balanced sport, you should stay around top 10 :)
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  • « Last Edit: March 29, 2018, 09:00 by t-72, Reason: Merged DoublePost »

    LukasCPH

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    Re: EQUAL PAY?
    « Reply #10 on: March 30, 2018, 12:03 »
    ADDING:I am going to make a table out of the documentation and update this post as it seems tweets have stopped rendering again..

    *table*
    To be fair, the women's DDV was 1.1 while the men's was WT.
    But: Even if the men's race had the same category, they'd still get ~7 times more prize money!

    Fun fact: to race in a more gender-balanced sport, you should stay around top 10 :)
    :lol
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  • Kiwirider

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    Re: EQUAL PAY?
    « Reply #11 on: March 30, 2018, 13:09 »
    To be fair, the women's DDV was 1.1 while the men's was WT.
    But: Even if the men's race had the same category, they'd still get ~7 times more prize money!
    :lol

    This is reminiscent of the cyclocross tables that Helen Wyman published on her website when she was pushing for (and eventually was a driving force behind winning) equal prize money in cyclocross for men and women.

    It is ridiculous and downright insulting to women riders - if there was ever a signal that says "we don't care about you" this would be pretty much it.

    Interesting that the fastest growing area of cycling sport is on the dirt and that MTB has had equal prize money for a number of years:

    www.uci.ch/mm/Document/News/.../MTB17-Multi_Neutral.pdf

    I've seen talk that MTB salaries/sponsorships - while less across the board than the ridiculously inflated roadie star salaries - are much more equal for women and men, but right now can't find that info.



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  • Servais Knavendish

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    Re: EQUAL PAY?
    « Reply #12 on: March 30, 2018, 13:27 »
    Whilst the numbers are quite sobering they still don't make a case for equalisation.  It is great that the women's race at DVV is entwined with the men's as far as spectators on sections of the circuit are concerned, but taking a hard nosed view of the coverage, exposure, etc they are not equal.  [granted they are not that far apart mind!]

    My youngest took part in a pre race at ToBr, no one suggested that because they were on same circuit on same days as men's stage that they should be paid a fee equal to the senior race.

    There is much to agree with postings above and it is interesting to see how broadcasters manage this; they often cut to the DVV but also often don't have rights to the finish so just give out a verbal account; a case of someone in women's cycling potentially missing the bigger picture perhaps in deciding on opportunities to engage viewers on the way to snaring sponsors.

    One way or another cant wait until Sunday!
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