WNBA, NBA salaries shed light on gender pay disparity

Sep 12, 2014, 6:00 AM | Updated: 6:00 am

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Mercury are on track to win their third WNBA championship, but that doesn’t mean their players will make as much as their male counterparts.

Even the most successful female athletes earn only a fraction of a male athlete’s salary. In fact, 52 NBA athletes, individually, earned more than all WNBA players combined.

“Those women are working hard, and yet they have to have jobs on the side,” Valley sports attorney Dana Hooper said. “Many of them have to coach during the offseason.”

Female athletes struggle much more to pay their bills than male athletes do, according to Hooper.

“They always have to cobble together money so that they can just pursue their dream; whereas men, on the other hand, are signing $100 million contracts,” she said.

Hooper said the pay disparity between male and female athletes in the U.S. is much worse than in other countries.

“The problem is that China, Russia, Turkey, all of these other countries seemed to have figured it out in selling tickets and then paying their women high six-figure salaries or more,” she said.

Gender pay disparity in professional sports is indicative of the pay gap in the workplace according to Hooper, and she said she wants to close that gap.

“We’ve been conditioned in our culture that ‘women aren’t going to get paid as much and that’s okay; that’s just how it is.’ I think we need to recondition the culture,” she said.

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WNBA, NBA salaries shed light on gender pay disparity