The Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year Awards, taking place this afternoon at the David Beckham Football Academy, London, has opened with an address criticising the male/female pay gap in the sports field.
Cyclists Victoria Pendleton, Elizabeth Armitstead and Sarah Story have all been nominated for awards – which are to be revealed shortly.
In his opening address John Witherow, Sunday Times editor, praised some of the recent achievements of the country’s sportswomen, but emphasised the pay gap that exists between female and male athletes:
"Other world leaders included cyclist Victoria Pendleton, who took the world sprint championship for the third year running… and Chrissie Wellington, who claimed her third straight World Ironman Triathlon championship. The weaker sex? I don’t think so."
"Just across the road at the 02 arena last month, Beth Tweddle became that sporting rarity: a British world gymnastics champion. Beth said afterwards that Jenson Button had been crowned world champion that same day, but that he earned about 200 times what she’d made in her career. Beth was wrong. She was probably earning about 200,000 times less than Jenson Button."
That gender inequality mirrors the fact that women are woefully underrepresented in the UK cycle trade – as found by the BikeBiz industry Salary Survey earlier this year – making up only six per cent of the trade. However, women in the industry do not appear to be suffering pay inequality according to the survey respondents.
BikeBiz is currently running a retail survey of 2009 for an up to date snapshot of the cycle trade. You can take part in it here.