SALARIES / OCT. 29, 2015
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Why Ronda Rousey is Right About The Gender Pay Gap

Ronda Rousey is a UFC champion, multimedia celebrity and arguably the most dangerous woman on the face of this Earth. Oh, and she understands a little bit about economics as well. This was shown during a recent press conference in Australia, where the company promoted an upcoming event.

See Also: Is Sexism The Primary Factor For Gender Pay Gap? 

A female reporter from the Herald Sun had asked Rousey about the pay dispute regarding women’s soccer in Australia and how Rousey is the richest fighter in UFC. With calm and composure, and some economic insight, Rousey responded that how much you get paid should be about how much money you generate.

Indeed, Rousey brings in a lot of eyeballs, sponsors, pay-per-view buys and media attention.

The ultimate fighter continues:

"I’m the highest paid fighter, not because Dana [White] and Lorenzo wanted to do something nice for the ladies. They do it because I bring in the highest numbers. They do it because I make them the most money. I think the money they make should be proportionate to the money that they bring in." 

Earlier this month, Rousey revealed that she is the highest paid fighter in UFC, male or female. This suggests that there isn’t some secret discrimination going or a hatred for women. It’s the fact that Rousey generates the most value for UFC and is thus compensated correctly. If other women in sports can do the same then, they’d be compensated just as much (more on that later).

The Pay Gap in Sports 

For years now, there have been complaints about how women don’t earn the same as men. At the same time, there has been this push for equal pay for equal work.  

This past summer, it was widely reported that, despite their talent and winning ways, the U.S. women’s soccer team earned less than the men’s soccer team. The number is as high as 40 times. Everyone called it despicable and unjust. But is it really unreasonable and loathsome? Not so.

Let’s take a look at some statistics:

During the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada in July, the country hosted more than one million people. Compare this to Brazil’s attendance of 3.43 million throughout the FIFA Men’s World Cup. On average, Brazilian stadiums were filled with an average of 53,000 fans. The women were only able to garner half of that number.

When it comes to ad revenues, there is no comparison. In 2011, the men’s World Cup generated an astounding $1.4 billion in ad bucks, while the women’s World Cup was only able to garner $5.8 million. That’s a monumental gap.

Now, the pay gap is found in pretty much all sports. In the WNBA, for instance, players make only 1.4 cents for each dollar an NBA player earns. This means, the average salary for a WNBA player is around $72,000, and the average salary for an NBA player is $4.9 million.

You may be outraged and thinking: but they’re playing the exact same sport. How could the women get paid so little and the men get paid so much? The answer to that question is that women in sports don’t draw the large crowds. It’s a fact, at least for the most part. Indeed, there are exceptions like Rousey or the Williams sisters, who are paid accordingly.

In sports, fans want to see LeBron James, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Bautista, not Brittney Griner, Lianne Sanderson or Cydnee Sanders. At least not yet. If a woman can start generating publicity for their sport, like "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey, then they’ll be earning as much as the men.

The Economics Behind the Gender Pay Gap 

For years, politicians, activists and professors have been touting an often dismissed claim: women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and leaders all over the world say it constantly.

Well, before we go into the economics behind the gender pay gap, let’s just make this suggestion to all businesses: if you want to save 23 percent on labor costs then hire a woman immediately! Fire all of your male staff and just hire women. If this statistic is true, then you will save a lot of dough.

During this year’s Academy Awards, Oscar-winning actress Patricia Arquette demanded wage equality as Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez were encouraging her. It was, indeed, a sad sight.

Arquette, and others like her, tend to omit the fact that some pay gaps tend to deal with marital status. They often forget that men and women with the same experience, education, unmarried status and no children earn the same amount of money. They ignore findings that men are more likely to negotiate their salaries and push for a raise than women. What about the latest finding that young women earn more than young men until their 30s?

The next question that must be asked: if the pay gap is so perverse then how come it isn’t evident in industries all over? There have been numerous articles published in various publications that have titles like "X number of cities where women earn more than men" or "X number of jobs where women earn more than men." If the 23-cent wage gap were true, then there would be no such thing.

Moreover, a 2003 Census survey discovered that when the two genders work fewer than 40 hours a week, women tend to earn more than men: 134 percent for 25 to 34 hours and 107 percent for 35 to 39 hours. These are important figures.

What this data inform us is that we all must scratch beneath the surface to find the truth.

Asians are more likely to attend university than Hispanics. Lesbians earn more than straight women. Men dominate the logging industry, which has one of the highest rates of fatality (danger pay). Women place less value on salary than men. Taller men earn more than shorter men. Jewish households have a higher median salary than American households.

In the end, differences do not necessarily equate to discrimination.

Here is one final point that should be made: discrimination in this world does exist. In one way or another, discrimination is found in many facets of this planet. We all do it. We discriminate on who we marry, on who our friends are, on who we associate with at the office. However, once an employer starts to discriminate his or her employees and begins to pay them less, then that employer would ultimately be punished. Discrimination hurts a company’s bottom line.

If that worker provides tremendous value for a business - let’s say he can make 100 burgers in an hour while the average employee can only produce half of that - then companies will compete for that worker. If the racist, homophobic or sexist employer were to actually discriminate and pay this high-valued worker less then they will lose out on labor to their competitors.

See Also: Gender Wage Gap: 10 Jobs That Pay Women More Than Men 

The Issue is Not Black and White

Although we like to make issues black and white, they are certainly not. Everyone comes from different backgrounds, families, schools and work ethics. Some women choose to get married and have kids and thus leave the labor force while some women select the opposite. Some men are full of sloth and ignorance while some men are the exact opposite.  

Similar to affirmative action, the equal pay for equal work initiative is insulting to women. The proponents of such legislation believe that women are incapable of being productive members of society and work hard to provide value and thus receive the same level of compensation. Supporters of the movement, whether directly or indirectly, think women are too weak and need the power of the state to earn a strong income. Nonsense! Women are overcoming barriers, and they’re proving they’re on the same level as men (look at Rousey).  

Just because a woman plays basketball like a man it doesn’t mean she should be earning the same. Likewise, just because a man plays basketball like a woman it doesn’t mean he should be earning the same.

What does this mean? Each gender has to show some value to employers and the economy.

Do you think Ronda Rousey’s argument is justified? Yout thoughts and comments below please...

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