Female Skiers Earned More than their Male Counterparts Last Year for the Second Year in a Row

Steven Agar | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Mikaela Shiffrin, women title, prize money, female
Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates on the podium after winning the slalom race at the World Cup finals. Credit: Pontus Lundahl/EPA

The top female alpine ski racers in the world out-earned their male counterparts for the second season in a row thanks to equal minimum prize money offered at all Audi FIS Alpine World Cup events, reports FIS-Ski.

Though individual organizers are permitted to offer more than the minimum should they have the funding to do so, both the female and men’s races pay out at least $120,250 across the top 30 finishers in each race.

Lindsey Vonn celebrates in the finish area after winning an alpine ski, women’s World Cup downhill, in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria. Credit: AP Photo/Pier Marco Tacca, File / The Associated Press

In the 2017/18 season, all but one of the top 18 ladies out-earned the male with an equivalent ranking on the prize money list. All of the top 13 ladies achieved this same feat in 2016/17, including Mikaela Shiffrin who has earned more prize money than male number one Marcel Hirscher for the past two winters.

“I think the fact that I was able to win the most prize money this year out of all athletes – female and male – means that, while there is still a big fight to eliminate gender bias in the workplace, progress is being made,” said Shiffrin. “Especially when compared to one of the strongest male athletes of this generation (Marcel Hirscher), and having had a fairly equal amount of success as Marcel this year.”

Austria’s Marcel Hirscher at the end of an alpine skiing men’s World Cup slalom, in Levi, Finland. Credit: AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati

Shiffrin was able to earn a total of $704,209 due in part to her podium performances at venues on the ladies’ tour that paid out in excess of the minimum including Courchevel, Lienz, and Flachau. Flachau was the highest paying race on the ladies’ circuit at $194,457, with over $39,080 going to Shiffrin as the winner. Bad Kleinkirchheim also exceeded minimum prize money on the ladies’ tour for a total of four venues and seven races paying out higher than required.

A 2017 BBC Sport study revealed that of 44 professional sports ranging from basketball to badminton and including cycling, football, golf, and tennis, 20 percent still fail to offer parity in prize money. Sports with the highest purses tend to show the greatest discrepancies, though the four Grand Slams in tennis pay out equally to both genders, with Wimbledon being the last to do so as of 2007.

“It is very clear to me that the same job and responsibilities should be valued the same,” said Atle Skaardal, FIS Chief Race Director World Cup Ladies. “Our competitions on the ladies’ tour are equally demanding and draw the same if not more spectators in some cases, so it is essential that ladies’ alpine skiing offers equal prize money to what is done so on the men’s tour.”

lindsey vonn, red bull, prize money, women, female
The earnings report doesn’t take sponsorships into account. Credit: Watson.ch

This comparison considers only prize money winnings, of course, and does not account for sponsorship and endorsement money which are not always published. See the full prize money ranking lists from the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup for the past seven seasons here.

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