By Cindy Desir
This is in reference to the article featured in the Feb. 6 issue on the salaries of the coaches at FGCU. I am writing to raise the issue of whether the main issue in salaries as quoted in the article is “gender differences” (of the sports as a whole) or if it is the gender differences of the coaches in general. I am saddened to see that it was not recognized how much less the female coaches of any sport represented at our school are paid compared to their men counterparts.
As a woman, I am aware of the huge wage gap between men and women’s salaries because it affects me directly in the workforce, while to men the wage gap may just blow over their heads because they are the ones getting paid more. Just on the presentation alone of this article, it is blown up in eight decent-sized pictures of the coaches along with their salaries in print. The article recognizes the differences of the gender of the sports like men’s basketball versus women’s but doesn’t acknowledge the larger elephant on the paper. Out of the eight coaches, four were men and three out of those four made a three-figure salary. Out of the four women coaches recognized, only one of them makes over $50,000 a year.
On top of only one of those women coaches making barely over $50,000, this coach is the assistant coach of the women’s basketball team. What makes this even more startling is the men’s basketball assistant coach, who is a man, has a salary of $71,400! It is understood that the school’s basketball teams do bring in a lot of revenue and that they should be paid more but when comparing a less popular but still appreciated sport like swimming, we still see the same problem. It’s not only at our school. The article used the University of North Florida to compare the salaries of the coaches to, and the swim coach of our school, who is male, has a salary of over $65,00, which beats out the female coach from UNF, who makes $52,954.
The wage gap is prevalent, and it is only really recognized by those who it affects the most, women, because of the fact that they are making 70 cents to every man’s dollar for the same jobs with the same specifications. It came off as ironic to me that an article that recognized the differences of the genders in the sports compared to pay but didn’t even touch on the bigger issue: are these salaries even fair?
Now I know that the journalist has no control over the wage gap and FGCU’s own example of it being real, but awareness and recognition of it is what is needed. If more people realized what is fair and what should be changed, then that would move society towards a positive shift of gender equality, not only in the workplace but outside of it as well.