One Promoter’s Perspective on Equal Pay for Women

Pin It

Voting on our current poll on equal pay for women (see right sidebar) has revealed that only 23% of you feel the market should decide the salaries and prize money for women. The remaining 77%  are split pretty evenly between those that believe only salaries should be equal and others that believe both salaries and prize money should be equal.

One promoter, who wishes to remain anonymous, weighed in on the subject with his personal thoughts below.

Promoters reward competitors who have equal achievements, not equal ambitions. Training hard, traveling far distance, please – so what? Every competitor is faced with those circumstances – but prizes are not handed out for training – otherwise we could simply hand in our SRM print-outs for the month and award first place based on that data. Travel distance? Hand in your airline tickets or gas bill and we’ll give you first place. Races ONLY reward finish order – and if there’s a promoter out there who thinks Elite Women race as hard as Men (even Cat. B’s & Masters) there’s a real customer for their London Bridge to put onto their Florida swampland they just bought from the guy on the corner.

We could determine parity quickly by having racers submit their race data – HR, Max HR, KW, etc. That would put a quick end to that spurious argument. One category who races MUCH faster/harder than Elite Women for the same length of time on the same course who doesn’t get prize money equal to Elite Women – I’m talking about Masters! Women who want access to big money prizes are eligible to race with Elite Men today (although the opposite is strictly verboten) but then you have to perform equally – equal competition.

Equal pay for equal performance – that’s absolutely the right way. Equal pay for significantly unequal performance?  You suffer a significant loss of credibility trying to justify it on a “Fairness” argument but as a promoter – if you can afford it, it’s your event to control – that’s absolutely your option because ultimately you pay the bills.

What do you think?  Drop a comment below. Got a longer response?  Send us an email.



Cyclocross Magazine, Issue 22, Print and digital subscriptionsHave you subscribed yet? You're missing out if not. Get all-original content and your cyclocross fix throughout the year with a subscription and Issue 23 back copy, with features on Lars van der Haar, Jonathan Page, Elle Anderson and more!
Colin R
Colin R

Meanwhile resident ignorant commenter "Bikezilla" also seems to think that if elite women "just trained harder" they could compete with the elite men, but "none of them are willing to do that." Seriously dude?? You think someone like Georgia Gould, who is generally at the front of Men's B races when she enters them, could suddenly be finishing in the money in the elite men if she just trained better? Georgia is a pro athlete and trains year-round, was top 10 at the Olympics, and yet she rides on par with the fastest B men. If that doesn't convince you that men and women are physiologically different nothing will.

Colin R
Colin R

The anonymous promoter would do well to remain anonymous, since he appears to have no idea about the difference between "racing hard" and "racing fast." Women aren't going to be able to put out the same wattage as men, sure, so they aren't racing as fast -- but you serious think they don't hurt the same? They don't try as hard?

There are plenty of reasonable arguments for why elite men should get a bigger payout than elite women, but this article sure doesn't make one.

A Lady Racer
A Lady Racer

If Masters want the big money why don't they step up and race elite? I'd gladly race for an hour in a cross race or 110 miles in a road race if it meant equal prize money. Unfortunately I don't get to choose the length of my races the UCI does that for me. As far as competing against the elite men that's a bit harder as Andrea points out our physiology limits us a bit.
Here's an alternative way to create parity, cut the elite men's race time to 45 minutes and reduce their payout to the match that of the women. Promoters could put a few more $$$ in their pocket or put the difference up as prize money for the Masters.


Are you freakin' kidding me?!?
"We could determine parity quickly by having racers submit their race data - HR, Max HR, KW, etc. That would put a quick end to that spurious argument. "

You're right- we could. Sure, elite women aren't going to be as fast as men. Their power:weight will be lower. I think that we can all agree on that. However, to say that women don't race as hard... well, that is total bull... Go ahead and compare heart rates. I've raced and trained with pro women on the road, and we do not hesitate to push ourselves to the limits of our physiology. It just so happens that the "limits of our physiology" is a few mph slower than that of males. That, in no way, shape, or form, should be an excuse for keeping elite female payouts lower than that of elite males.


I would LOVE to see the top elite women cross over and race WITH the men. It would be amazing. But if they stay on the women's side, they really don't deserve equal pay OR equal prize money, because races and stages for the women are much shorter than for the men and there are fewer stages per major stage race.

And your promoter is wrong. If you're looking at watts per kg (which is a truer measure than simply looking at total watts and much more intellectually honest), the best women are absolutely equal to the elite men.

I believe the best elite woman, if they had the drive and were permitted, absolutely could knock some of the elite men out of the peloton. But they would have to practice and race at a higher level. So far none are willing to do that. Until they're willing to train and race like the big dogs, there's no justification to pay them like the big dogs.

Stay up to date:

Search for a product, review, race or racer:

Visit these cx-loving companies:

Support CXM at no extra cost to you:

About Us | Jobs | Subscribe | Contact Us

Copyright © 2007-2014 Cyclocross Magazine - Cyclocross News, Races, Bikes, Photos, Videos All rights reserved.