Women in Soccer: Fair Game

I recently read that South Africa’s national female soccer team – fondly known as Banyana Banyana – will now be earning the same salaries as their male counterparts, Bafana Bafana.

This is good news obviously, as there was no justification for this injustice except to obtain patriarchal advantage and undermining women’s contribution to the sport. In fact, every known justification for pursuing any injustice is unsound.

But anyway, these good news got me thinking about the following.

Equality is paying Banyana Banyana the same salaries as Bafana Bafana. They play same game time at the same level, it makes sense to pay them the same salaries.

Equity is paying Banyana Banyana the same salaries as Bafana Bafana plus offering them all the necessary structural support they need in developing their game. Such as empowering the womens Premier Soccer League with more resources suited for their environment. Salaries alone are not enough.

Restitution is back-paying every player that has ever played for Banyana Banyana the salary difference they were underpaid from the period they played for the national team. This means that a Banyana Banyana player – past and present – would need to be paid back every amount they were underpaid for every year a Bafana Bafana player’s salary was higher than theirs. Like I said there is no justification for injustice. And correcting injustices costs what it costs.

The differences can easily be calculated using past salary scales of both teams. This can be paid out in the form of increased retirement packages, a lump sum or any other benefit, such as purchasing investments.

Whilst I welcome this move by South Africa’s Football Association, to end the gender-pay-gap in our national teams. In my view, we shouldn’t think salary increases alone will correct the environment of women’s football in South Africa, if we think so, then we are sadly mistaken.

What are your thoughts?

PS. I am not an avid soccer fan.

About Anele Matshisi

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