Friday, June 30, 2006

Pay the lady, dammit!!!

The campaign for equal pay at Wimbledon got a shot in the arm yesterday. First from British Prime Minister Tony Blair who said "he fully supported the campaign for equal pay at Wimbledon."

Tennis legend John McEnroe weighed in as well noting that "There should be no argument that there should be equal pay."

As it stands, the men's winner takes home about $50,000 more than the lady champ. Considering that both take home over a million bucks, the difference is a meager sum. But the symbolism is huge. Says defending champ Venus Williams,
"I'm disappointed not for myself but for all the women who have struggled so hard to get here, the great legends like Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova who have never stopped fighting for equality. And I'm disappointed that the home of tennis is sending a message to women across the world that we are inferior. How can it be that Wimbledon finds itself on the wrong side of history? It can only be that Wimbledon is trying to make a social and political point, one that is out of step with modern society."
When asked how she felt about tennis' original superbrat John McEnroe backing her cause Venus replied, "It's very nice to have a world champion like him, someone who has a respected opinion, to speak up on the women's behalf. I understand he has four daughters also."

And Britains' Prime Minister?

Says Venus: "The fact that Mr. Blair finds this cause extremely important really gives credence to the free world that (equal pay) is something that really makes sense, something that needs to be done"

It's worth noting that the tournament in Dubai (in the United Arab Emirates) offers equal prize money to the men's and women's winners. So moderate Arab nations are willing to pay up for equality's sake, but not Wimbledon. Ironic?

I'll close my feminist rant with this. Sports Illustrated suggests that-- for what the women bring to the game-- they should be paid MORE than the men! Naturally, I agree. But for now I'm happy being pragmatic.


J at said...

Hey Jay, first trip to your just commented on mine...Thanks!

I used to live in Philly, though oddly I never made it over to Cherry Hill. So close, yet so far away!

Anyway, great post about Wimbeldon and equal pay. Thanks for the feminist rant!

Elsa said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Jay.

Ben Heller said...

I'm gonna say something controversial now Jay.

I agree totally with equal prize money for both ladies and mens competitions.

But I also believe that the womens game should be extended to 5 sets. The reason is twofold.

1. Some of the ladies games are over in under an hour.

2. As a spectacle, particularly at Wimbledon, the ladies games are far more exciting, with longer rallies and less emphasis on powerful serves as the only method of winning games. It seems to me that in the men's game you're guaranteed a long run at Wimbledon if you have a big serve.

Anonymous said...

That is really remarkable. I thought the Brits would be more progressive than that, but let's face it "W" is very stodgy.


jay lassiter said...

a bit stodgy? is that a euphamism for "heads up their ass?"