A new advertisement released by investment adviser Wealthsimple on Tuesday addresses pay inequity in the WNBA.
The video portrays two young children, a boy and a girl, who proceed to describe a laundry list of basketball career accomplishments. The girl’s accomplishments (which includes becoming a three-time first-team All-American, reaching three straight Final Four appearances, being named conference player of the year, and becoming her school’s all-time leader in points, steals, most free throws, triple-doubles and minutes played) outweigh the boy’s achievements.
However, when both reveal the amount of their rookie contracts, the boy says he will make $4 million for being drafted the first round of the NBA draft. The girl says she will make only $40,000 for being taken in the first round of the WNBA draft. The shot then cuts away to All-Star guard Skylar Diggins-Smith.
Pay inequity within American men’s and women’s professional sports has become a growing topic of discussion in recent years.
In 2016, five members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team filed an action with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in which they accused U.S. Soccer of wage discrimination, specifically in comparison to what the federation paid the men’s national team.
Over the past year, pro basketball players—both men and women—have become more vocal in their stance for WNBA players to be properly compensated. Diggins-Smith has been one of the more prominent stars to address the issue. In August, the Dallas Wings guard previously spoke with Wealthsimple to state her case for improved player wages.
The argument being presented by WNBA players such as Diggins-Smith is not that women’s players should be paid the same amount (the WNBA’s total league revenue of $52.4 million is much less than the NBA’s total revenue of $7.4 billion). Their argument is that WNBA players deserve to earn a more significant share of the league’s revenue.
NBA players receive 50 percent of the league’s revenue based on their current collective bargaining agreement. WNBA players receive no more than 20 percent of league revenue based on their current CBA. That agreement doesn’t expire until 2021, however by Oct. 31, the WNBA players’ union can opt out of the CBA and trigger the contract to end after the 2019 season.