With the 2019 Women’s World Cup in full swing in France, never before has the subject of equality in football been so to the forefront of public attention.
While there have been disputes in the game over the treatment of female teams compared to their male counterparts – Ballon d’Or Feminin winner Ada Hegerberg is in international exile from Norway due to their lack of professionalism – it is the pay gap that has caught much of the attention.
In particular, the US women’s national team, the defending world champion, has been in dispute with the country’s FA over payment, while Australia have successfully fought to achieve pay parity.
England, meanwhile, are one of the favourites to dethrone the Americans, but how do wages of the average professional in the Women’s Super League stack up against their male counterparts in the Premier League?
England international players are given central contracts from the FA, which stand separately from club contracts and net players a minimum of £25,000 per year. A further £5,000 is available through bonuses.
These were introduced in 2009, with 17 players initially given deals, and now encompass 33 professionals stratified into four sections, from promising youngsters through to veterans.
Players playing their club football abroad are also eligible for these contracts, which expire in December 2019.
The Times, however, have reported that the Lionesses are set to earn more than £50,000 each in bonuses if they win the World Cup. This payout would be exceed more than what some of the players would usually earn from a whole year's worth of football.
On top of these contracts, players earn money from their club sides, who naturally pay players of differing importance varying salaries.
It's reported that Manchester City and England Women's national team captain Steph Houghton earns £65,000 a year before tax, though she receives an exceptional salary.
In the WSL, the average figure is reportedly around £27,000, although recent restructuring means that there are increasingly fewer players only receiving £5,000-£10,000 per annum from the game.
Unlike the Premier League, though, the English top flight is not the superpower in the game. Instead, clubs from France – with Lyon leading the way – lead spending in the women’s game, with an average salary of around £35,718 in Ligue 1 Feminin, including the three biggest earners in the sport: Wendie Renard, Amandine Henry and Hegerberg, all of whom are with OL.
Renard and Henry both earn around the £300,000-per-year mark, while Hegerberg is on £343,000.
Nevertheless, these figures pale into comparison with the top stars in the English game.
Raheem Sterling is reportedly the highest paid English player in the game, netting £300,000 in wages each week, which is around 52 times more than the top female players in the world.
Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Luke Shaw and Ross Barkley, meanwhile, all make substantially more than £150,000-per-week, according to reports – and that’s before sponsorship deals, which are again many magnitudes higher in the men’s game than the women’s game.