Thi year’s CME Group Tour Championship will provide the biggest LPGA purse yet.
Equal pay for equal work is an argument for social equity and economic equality. The “pink tax” (also known as the “tampon tax”) has been an example of women working for less pay on the job (many times the same exact position) and paying more for consumer products. It also includes a higher degree of markup in costs for certain consumer products targeted towards women, items men do not have to even consider like tampons, pantyhose, and makeup.. This has been played out across the board in corporate America as well as among K-12 educators and higher ed institutions.
Sports are a totally different ball game when it comes to the gender pay gap.
Originally hitting the mainstream through the the lawsuit filed for equal pay by U.S. Women’s Soccer team in 2019. Despite winning back-to-back titles, the FIFA World Cup prize money for the women and men has a gap of 114.89%. In terms of dollars, that boils down to $360,000 difference.
What we’re seeing being done through the LPGA and CME Group Tour Championship is literally a move in the right direction to close the gender pay gap.
Prior Attempts at Gender Pay Equality
The U.S. Open made efforts to close the gender pay equality gap this season. With such a wide gap in pay between women and men professional golfers, the tournament’s move to raise the prize money this season has been seen as a sign and gesture of both good faith and a step in the right direction. This stemmed from a newly-established partnership reported in January of this year where the USGA secured a major sponsorship from ProMedica in order to provide top a record $10 million purse for the U.S. Open. The 2022 U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles included a winner’s share of $1.8 million.
Rising LPGA Prize Money Not Resulting in Equality
In March of 2021 by BBC Sport shared research reports that showed an ‘overwhelming majority’ of sports offering ‘equal prize money’ to both men and women at the top level. Given the rise in LPGA prize money, the gender pay gap has yet to arrive at a point of closure. LPGA golfers still run the risk of losing money after making the cut for certain tournaments and in certain situations.
As Kikue Higuchi reports for the LPGA, the top 60 women professional golfers of the LPGA Tour will compete for a $2 million winner’s purse at the CME Group Tour Championship, the final event for the 2022 season. This represents “the largest purse of any non-major tournament,” a total purse of $7 million for the tournament prize money. The prize money for the tournament winner of the CME Group Tour Championship is 28.57 percent of the overall purse. In comparison to average LPGA Tour events, 28 percent is 13 percent higher than the average percent of the overall purse to the winner.
These are major shifts towards closing the gender pay gap. Golf seems to be doing its part to bring more attention to the women who are playing on the course. The LPGA has established partnerships and sponsorships to push forward with making headway in this area.
The gap has yet to see widespread moves towards closure throughout sports.