April 22, 2024

EWNJ Comments on Gender Pay Gap in Sports

“Even if you are the best, women are not paid their fair share.”

With March Madness boiling over into April’s Caitlin Clark mania, the WNBA’s No. 1 Draft Pick has dominated headlines in recent weeks, shining a spotlight, perhaps inadvertently, on America’s shameful gender wage gap.

Clark’s four-year rookie contract with the Indiana Fever will net her $338,056 over four years — just over $76,000 her first year. While experts have pointed out that Clark stands to earn significantly more through endorsement deals as well as marketing and promotional agreements with the league, this number stands in stark contrast to the $55.1 million four-year contract awarded to the NBA’s No.1 draft pick in 2023, Victor Wembanyama. 

Fans were, rightly, outraged at this disparity. Even President Joe Biden weighed in, posting on X (formerly known as Twitter), “Women in sports continue to push new boundaries and inspire us all. But right now, we’re seeing that even if you’re the best, women are not paid their fair share. It’s time we give our daughters the same opportunities as our sons and ensure women are paid what they deserve.”

We couldn’t agree more. The fact is that women in the United States at every level of employment, from the locker room to the boardroom, are earning less than their male counterparts. Full-time working women make on average 84 cents for every dollar a white man earns in a similar position. That pay gap is even more stark for women of color and working moms. 

At Executive Women of New Jersey (EWNJ) we believe closing the wage gap is possible, that it starts with employers, and more specifically, that it starts in the boardroom. In late 2023, EWNJ unveiled our biennial report, “A Seat at the Table: A Decade of Perseverance and Progress,” the sole examination of women’s representation in corporate leadership at public companies in New Jersey. The report’s findings showed that while there has been significant progress in the representation of women on corporate boards over the past decade, the number of women CEOs remains stagnant and women of color remain severely underrepresented in top corporate positions. 

We call on corporations here in New Jersey and across the country to do better by adopting practices that not only achieve pay equity but also increase the representation of women, particularly women of color, in the top leadership of their companies. 

As women in executive positions, we also have a personal responsibility to support the advancement of our sisters in the workplace whenever possible. We believe both mentorship and sponsorship are integral to helping more women climb to the top of the corporate ladder, which is why EWNJ hosts a number of events and initiatives aimed at promoting these practices.