Pay disparity hits hard in tennis and medicine

It’s surprising that after all the fighting that women have done to first, get into the workplace, and now, to get paid equally that there would still be stories of women who are paid less than their male counterparts. Not just less, but, often, substantially less.

Earlier this summer Sports Illustrated told the story of tennis great, Martina Navratilova and where she is now. While she may have hung up her racquet over a decade ago, she is still an important influence in the tennis community.

The story revealed a something Navratilova and Houston physicians have in common. Alarming pay disparity.

The courage to comment

The BBC asked Navratilova to comment on the Wimbledon match alongside John McEnroe. They both gave excellent commentary for the match, but then Navratilova discovered that McEnroe was paid 10 times more for his commentary.

Over her lengthy career, Navratilova has never been one to back down when she knows what needs to be said. And this time was no exception. This isn’t just about her. It’s about women everywhere who are still getting paid less for the same work.

No more excuses

Pay is one of those social secrets people tend to keep. It can be difficult to pin down who makes what and how the employer got to that amount. Often intangible excuses such as previous experience and job difficulty are held out to rationalize discrepancies.

A recent national study removed the excuses when looking at how much doctors make. The study even looked at niche sub-specialties and still found significant pay gaps of 15 percent or more.

In Houston, even doctors aren’t immune

The good news is that doctors in Houston are making more than almost every other metro area. The bad news is that the pay gap in Houston is the ninth largest in the country. Even worse, it’s the largest in Texas.

Hopefully public figures like Navratilova will help women everywhere find a voice to speak up for pay equity. The more open the issue of pay becomes, the harder it will be for employers to hide behind defenses that are difficult to define and ultimately a smoke screen for an excuse to pay women less.

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