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Why don't women receive equal prize money at Wimbledon?

It seems ridiculous that we’re even talking about something so obvious, but this is a debate that has been stirring up this year. Women’s tennis is surely as exciting as the men’s game, so why can’t these athletes be rewarded equally?

Good question — and it’s being asked a lot across the pond. Tony Blair is in favor of equal pay for women athletes at Wimbledon, as is John McEnroe and Virgin boss and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Global Advisory Council Member, Sir Richard Branson.

Speaking at the Tour’s pre-Wimbledon welcome reception for the players in London last night, Sir Richard added; “Women players have every right to feel strongly about the issue of equal prize money at Wimbledon. The outdated position adopted by the All England Club tarnishes the good name of the world’s greatest tennis tournament and sends a completely negative signal to women everywhere.”

How bad is the disparity in payout? The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour cites figures official Wimbledon Tennis Championships 2006 prize money and it’s staggering — male singles and doubles players will receive over Â?600,000 more than the women. That’s scandalous. The U.S. Open and Australian Open don’t have a gender-based pay scale when it comes to awards.

Jay over at Lassiter Space weighs in:

It’s worth noting that the tournament in Dubai (in the United Arab Emirates) offers equal prize money to the men’s and women’s winners. So moderate Arab nations are willing to pay up for equality’s sake, but not Wimbledon. Ironic?

I’ll close my feminist rant with this. Sports Illustrated suggests that– for what the women bring to the game– they should be paid MORE than the men! Naturally, I agree. But for now I’m happy being pragmatic.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding