This record of never entering a race with unequal pay isn't really my doing either, it just happened that every race I have wanted to do already HAD equal pay... until recently, when I registered for a race which had a deeper purse for the men than the women. To be fair it was really close, the website stated that the top three men and women would recieve equal pay, but the men's pay went 5 deep where the womens only 4 deep. And even though this doesn't seem like TOO big a deal, it didn't sit right with me.
A month or so ago I woman I race with often, Chase, mentioned to me that I should use my platform as an athlete with a large audience to help advocate for equal pay in some of the ultra endurance races that don't already have it. I've been thinking about that conversation ever since, so it was a no brainer when I read the race website for said NUE I was signed up for that I should email the promoter. Long story short, he changed the pay schedule so top 5 male and female racers get the same payout, which feels like a little victory for everyone, and made me very pleased. BUT the conversation we had through email, and the responses I got on Twitter when I posted about the issue have me thinking, so I wanted to share a few of those thoughts here.
|From Bentonville where TONS of women ride mountain bikes!|
Most companies now acknowledge that marketing to women is VERY worthwhile, and that we are the largest growing sector of the market (my argument 4 years ago when I was told that we didn't matter). But think about it, if you have the viewpoint that women aren't worth marketing to, obviously women are going to be slow to join the sport, which means at races there are going to be less women registered than men. DUH! So when the race promoter tells me that 'men support the race more than women' I kinda feel miffed. MORE WOMEN WOULD SUPPORT THE RACE IF YOU GUYS DIDN'T TREAT US LIKE WE DIDN'T MATTER a short time ago!!!
|From Carson City Off Road, an Epic Rides race with a HUGE equal payout!|
Thing are changing, and pretty quickly, so I'm not terribly worried about this issue. But I just have these kinda pissed off feelings when people say the race should pay the men deeper because there are more of them. Yeah, way to be short sited and NOT forward thinking. Thanks for treating my gender like we aren't important up until a few years ago, and now saying it's still our fault that field sizes are small... that's really helpful.
|Women's fields are growing, but not giving equal pay is NOT going to encourage this growth.|