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How Caitlin Clark is a prime example of the gender wage gap in sports

Caitlin Clark got drafted and her starting salary is viewed as unfair.
Caitlin Clark at the Big Ten tournament Final 2024. PC: John McClellan
Caitlin Clark at the Big Ten tournament Final 2024. PC: John McClellan

Caitlin Clark is a professional basketball player who has been regarded as one of the most talented collegiate players in the history of basketball.

Clark played in college for the Iowa Hawkeyes and was the first selection overall for the Indiana Fever. The Women’s NCAA National Championship made history this year as it was the most-watched women’s basketball program ever, with 18.7 million viewers. This was also the first time a women’s national championship surpassed the number of viewers for the men’s national championship. 

Clark’s starting salary in the WNBA has sparked conversation about the unfair wages WNBA players receive in comparison to NBA players. Clark was the number one pick for the WNBA draft this year and her initial salary is set at only $76,535 for her first year. By the end of four seasons, she will be set to make about $338,056. 

While this is a substantial amount of money, it greatly differs from the starting salary of the NBA player draft. Victor Wembanyama was the number one pick for the NBA draft this year and got signed with the San Antonio Spurs. Wembanyama’s starting salary is set at a whopping $12.2 million, and he is set to make $55.1 million in the next four years. 

Basketball historically has an unfair pay gap when it comes to the WNBA. While in the past two years, WNBA players were paid $120,000 per year on average, NBA players made over $5 million. The gender wage gap is present in multiple fields of work, as the average female personal advisor makes about $65,208 per year, compared to the average male personal advisor who makes about $103,220 per year on average.

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About the Contributor
Kate McGinnis
Kate McGinnis, Staff Writer
Kate is currently a sophomore at Oakmont High School and is in her first year of journalism. She enjoys reading, running, and going to the movies. Kate is in the mock trial club and outside of school she does martial arts.

Comments (1)

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  • D

    DavidMay 24, 2024 at 9:35 am

    As soon as the WNBA makes the same amount of revenue as the NBA, the WNBA players will earn the same salaries as NBA players. It’s really not that difficult. Which is to say, as soon as women start to support women’s basketball at the same rate men support men’s basketball, the WNBA players will earn national recognition as well as higher pay. Stop pretending there is any other discussion. The wage gap is a byproduct of the success of the sport. Very simple to understand.
    I will say this, as a man who has never paid much attention to the WNBA, Clark has brought attention to an otherwise boring sport. I watch game highlights for not only the Fever but other teams as well.
    The way to overcome the “wage gap” isn’t to cry about it in an attempt to bully owners into paying players more money. The path forward is to replicate Caitlin Clark’s success. Also, improving the skill level of WNBA players would help tremendously.