The news that the England Women’s football team traveled to the SheBelieves Cup in premium economy certainly did come as a surprise to many when news first broke. This is, after all, a national side that represents England at the highest level in women’s football. Whilst the decision ultimately came down to logistics and, even if the Lionesses will fly in business class on the way back from America; there is still a greater discussion here that needs to take place. For instance, could you imagine Harry Kane sitting in premium economy on his way to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar? Of course you couldn't, because the men’s team always charter a plane to get them to and from international events. Why this wasn’t done for the women’s team remains to be seen, but when you consider that even the England men’s u21 side have a plane chartered for them, you can’t help but feel something isn’t quite right with this current setup.
"It's a bit shambolic of the FA to not back up their words."— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) February 27, 2020
"Surely they could have chartered a plane?"
"They are the holders of the She Believes Cup and this is how they are treated."@NatalieSawyer on the @Lionesses having to fly premium economy to the She Believes Cup. pic.twitter.com/MIEmYaE2ra
Another point worth considering is that the Lionesses do England proud when they play in the SheBelieves Cup, having won it in 2019 after . Indeed, no matter how hard you try and get your head around it, you’re still left aghast at the thought of professional athletes, who are the defending champions of an event, slumming it in premium economy for ten hours.
It must be said that the Lionesses deserve great credit for sticking together in premium economy, given that they had the option to take two separate flights in business class. The team decided that this would be too disruptive and, for that, they should be thoroughly commended.
Examples like this one do go to show that there is still some way to go in the fight for equality. It’s not just football where there is still daylight between men and women, with regards to the difference in how they are treated, in fact, there probably isn’t a better example than golf.
The fight for equal pay goes on in golf but the gap keeps widening which should be a concern to all. You’re often left wondering where it is all going wrong in the fight for equality when you consider that the top ten women golfers earn more than men. For example, at the end of 2018, the player that finished in 100th place in the men's order of meritwon $451,000, whilst the woman who finished in the same position collected $18,585.
If you were to take it a step further and have a look at the all-time money lists for both the PGA and LPGA tours, you would also see concerning discrepancies. At the top of the women’s list is the Swede Annika Sorenstam with career earnings of $22 million, but at the top of the men’s list is Tiger Woods with $120 million, and that figure is only likely to grow. Anyone will see Woods as one of the favourites and, should he win, the American will receive another $2 million. Whereas the biggest purse in the women’s game is the US Open, which is half of what the winner of the Masters will earn.
The evidence is there for all to see, whether it be by way of transport to an event or earning on the golf course, the gap still sadly exists. In the case of England’s Lionesses, as mentioned, they should be lauded for the way they have handled this entire saga. One can only hope that this sort of unfortunate event will bring about the publicity needed to keep the equality movement going.