Sports market is growing globally, raising questions about gender.

Gender inequality in sports is a long-standing issue, marked by disparities in participation, pay, media coverage, and overall recognition between male and female athletes. This article explores these disparities through comprehensive statistics, examining the factors contributing to inequality and highlighting sports where women excel. By delving into male vs. female sports statistics, we aim to provide a clear picture of the current state of gender inequality in sports and suggest pathways for improvement.

Highlights Of The Article

  • Male tennis players earn an average of $335,946, while females earn $283,635.
  • NBA players earn $123,655,000 per season, while WNBA ones get up to $215,000.
  • The highest-paid sports athlete is a man, with a $275 million gain in 2023, while the highest-paid female athlete got $23.9 million.
  • Male boxers earn an average of $29,483 per month, while female boxers can earn $28,537.
  • In 2022, 2.24 million viewers watched the Wimbledon male final, while only 1.24 million viewers watched the women’s match.
  • The final game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup had more than 1.5 billion viewers, while the final game of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World had around 38.4 million viewers.

Historical Context of Gender Inequality in Sports

The history of gender inequality in sports dates back centuries, with women often barred from participating in competitive sports. Although significant progress has been made, many inequalities persist. Title IX, enacted in 1972 in the United States, was a landmark in promoting gender equality in sports by prohibiting sex-based discrimination in any school or education program receiving federal funds. However, the journey towards true equality continues.

While Title IX has significantly increased female participation in high school and collegiate sports, professional levels still exhibit marked disparities. Historical biases and the late start of women in competitive sports have created enduring barriers that continue to influence the sports landscape today.

Athletic Performance And Injury Rates

Undoubtedly, there are essential gender differences in sports between women and men, including due to hormones. Thus, most championships are solely based on sex. Male athletes are prohibited from competing with female athletes due to gender equality. Still, I would like to compare injury rates and athletic performance between both men and women.

There Are No Strength Differences Between Boys And Girls Until Age 14

Research shows that boys and girls have the same strength until age 14. In other words, physical differences between boys and girls begin to emerge during puberty due to differences in muscle mass development and hormonal changes.

Women Are Less Fast And Strong Than Men

Are males better than females at sports? The statistics show that, yes. On May 2, 2020, the Icelandic athlete Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson made the strongest deadlift ever. In contrast, Rhianon Lovelace has performed the strongest deadlift among women. Nonetheless, the difference between the two records is more than 500 pounds (0.23 t). 
When it comes to the fastest 100m dash, Usain Bolt has done it at 9.58 seconds. Florence Griffith-Joyner had performed the same distance by 10.49 seconds.

Men Dominate In Chess Sports

Suppose I compare the success of males vs. females in sports, which are based only on brain ability. In this case, men are leaders as well. For example, the top 10 chess players in the world are males. 

Females Dominate In Some Sports 

Do you know sports where women are better? I will tell you. Certain disciplines, like gymnastics, long-distance swimming, and figure skating, are the areas where women achieve the most success thanks to their physiological body construction.
Although male athletes might have better sports results in some disciplines due to stronger bones, more muscle mass, and the ability to endure harder and longer training, men perform worse in women’s sports.

Female Athletes Suffer Fewer Injuries Than Men

Male athletes get more injuries than female ones. Commonly, it can include strains, concussions, fractures, dislocations, and ligament tears (such as ACL tears). When it comes to women, they are more prone to ankle sprains, ACL tears, concussions, and stress fractures. Still, 20% of males successfully return to their sport after undergoing surgeries.

Pay And Revenue Discrepancies

When it comes to salaries, this topic becomes a subject of discussion. Female athletes complain about gender inequality in sports and less pay. Let’s uncover essential statistics related to this theme.

Men’s Football Teams Are Paid Almost Four Times More Than Women’s Football Teams

As male vs. female soccer statistics show, the US women’s football teams have fewer salaries than the men’s. Soccer players’ pay differs according to the team, sponsorship deals, league agreements, etc. However, while an average male athlete’s salary can reach $471,279, the average female is around $54,000.

Women’s Sports Make Less Money

Traditionally, money in men’s and women’s sports is earned with differences. In 2022, the NBA had around $10 billion, whereas the WNBA had between $60 million and $70 million. I have highlighted this tendency in countless sports disciplines. 

The Difference Between The Highest-Paid Female And Male Athletes

Male and female athletes have different salaries, and the statistics prove this. In 2023, the highest-paid male sportsman was Cristiano Ronaldo, who earned $275 million per year. In contrast, the highest-paid female athlete was Iga Świątek in 2023. The tennis player earned $23.9 million in 2023.

Male Tennis Players Earn An Average Of $335,946, While Females One Usually Make $283,635

As shown by research by Adelphi University, Human Kinetics, female athletes vs. male athletes in tennis have lower salaries by 36%. In 2023, Novak Djokovic had first place in the world’s highest-paid tennis player rating, with $38.4 million in capital. Iga Świątek had third place in this rating, earning $22.4 million.

A Salary Cap For NBA Players Is $123,655,000, While WNBA Ones Earn a Maximum of $215,000

When it comes to male vs. female professional sports salary comparison in the basketball area, women get more than men. The maximum salary for a sportsman in the NBA is $123,655,000 per season, and athletes in the WNBA may get up to $215,000. For instance, Stephen Curry is considered one of the most high-priced NBA players, averaging $52 million a year. In contrast, Erica Wheeler gets around $242.15 million a year.

Females Golfers Get Less Than Male Ones

Gender inequality in professional sports is demonstrated in golf as well. For example, in 2022, Phil Mickelson’s total earnings were around $138 million. He is considered the highest-paid golfer worldwide. In contrast, the highest-paid female golfer is Minjee Lee, who earned $7.3 million in 2022. 

Female Boxers Earn About The Same As Men Athletes

Although boxing is considered more of a male sport, 68.2% of men are engaged in it. Moreover, women in men’s sports also actively develop. However, the average salary in boxing is almost the same for both men and women. Male boxers earn an average of $29,483 per month, while female boxers can earn $28,537.

Viewership And Fan Interest

Of course, it is interesting to know male vs. female sports viewership statistics. Which competitions have more audience and fans? It depends on sport and countries. However, I have prepared the most shocking statistics in the review below.

The Women’s World Cup Attracted 1 461.6 Millions Fewer Viewers Than The Men’s World Cup Final

When it comes to male vs. female football statistics, male competitions have more fans than female ones. For example, the 2022 FIFA World Cup held in Qatar had more than 1.5 billion viewers for the final live match. In contrast, the final game of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup had around 38.4 million viewers.

Female Tennis Matches Have Fewer Viewers Than Male Tennis Games

I also see gender inequality in sports statistics that is a result of less advertising of women’s tennis matches. For instance, just look at the Wimbledon finals statistics. In 2022, the male final had 2.24 million viewers, and only 1.24 million viewers watched the women’s final. Therefore, female tennis players often accuse the media of the fact that representatives of the press and television draw better and more attention to men’s tournaments.

Only 45% Of The General Population In 8 Countries Are Ready To Watch Live Sports Streaming Of Women Competitions

Unfortunately, so far, men and women in sports have had unequal popularity in the audience. A Nielsen study showed that 38% of the general population in 8 countries had not seen a single match involving women but would be interested in watching. 

However, 45% of the population considers watching women’s sports competitions live. This data is an indicator that brands and media organizations can increase their potential by attracting attention to women’s sporting events.

Only 3% Of US Sports Fans Watch Women’s Matches, While 66% Consume More Men’s Sports

Since sports marketing focuses on the male audience, men’s sports competitions are the most popular. Thus, 66% of sports fans in the USA prefer following men’s sports, and only 3% like to follow women’s ones. Obviously, it is a demonstration that media coverage of male and female sports is not equivalent.

Emerging Trends And Opportunities

The sports area is growing on different fronts. Let’s talk about the ongoing tendencies in male and female sports disciplines. 

A Number Of Women’s Esports Teams Will Increase By The End Of 2025

There are generally around 3.09 billion active video game players worldwide. Despite the gender bias in sports, women gamers comprise 46% of the global esports community. Besides, in 2023, Faze Clan revealed its first all-female professional cyber sports team. I think that this tendency will grow in the future as well.

In 2024, Women’s Sports Will Grow

In 2024, the media will cover female sports competitions to decrease gender inequalities in sports and attract the attention of more fans. This trend will increase sponsors’ financial investments and may equalize the male and female sports pay. 

As The Global Sports Market Will Grow Up To $614 Billion By 2026, Females Athletes’ Salaries Will Increase

Sponsors’ investments will influence the salaries in men’s and women’s sports. Just look: if in 2021, the global sports market was valued at $471 billion, in 2026, it would be $614 billion. 

Main Reasons For Gender Inequality In Sports

Commonly, inequality in sports is based on historical, social, cultural, and economic aspects. Of course, I understand that gender differences in sports performance depend on a physiological human nature as well. Still, when it comes to inequality, I’ve highlighted a few important reasons in the list below:

  • Historical aspects and limited opportunities. Men vs. women in sports had more opportunities. Evidently, as the funding was disparate, sponsors invested money in professional male organizations and leagues. Add to this limited access to women’s sports programs and get numerous restrictions for female athletes.
  • Gender bias and stereotypes. For a long time, it was believed that females in male sports are less skilled and less durable. Furthermore, male and female sports develop unevenly due to gender bias. These thoughts often manifest themselves in management and coaching positions, which are more likely to be held by men.
  • Media influence. Sadly, gender inequality in sports media coverage has existed for a long time and has not completely disappeared. As a rule, the sports media prefers to cover men’s sports competitions, which attracts investors and, accordingly, increases the salaries of male athletes. Therefore, there is a perception that women’s vs. men’s sports are less common and promising.
  • Social and cultural norms. Society has been putting pressure on women for a long time, imposing on them a gender role, professions, motherhood, and condemnation in front of the sports body. All these aspects prevent some gifted women from actively developing in sports.

So, we can see a gender pay gap in sports statistics as a result of these reasons. I hope that female athletes will be paid on par with men and that interest in women’s sports competitions will begin to increase in the future.

Final Words

Consequently, as statistics show, although females compete in male sports, gender inequality still exists. It is a systemic problem based on poor media coverage of women’s sports, less financial investment, and resulting lower pay for female athletes.What sport are women better than men? I can highlight such sports as gymnastics, long-distance swimming, and figure skating. In other sports, women are also actively developing and getting prize places. However, so far, male athletes are considered stronger and more successful in many areas, but this trend is getting weaker year after year.