Giving equal rewards to women and men in national team service

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Government wants to equalize monetary gains in representing the country. Programmatic measure promises to revolutionize Portuguese sports. Portuguese Football Federation promises to equalize until 2030. In a decade Portugal won more female athletes than male.

These are programmatic measures, but they promise to revolutionize sports in Portugal if they are implemented and, in some way, commit the government to a sensitive issue like gender equality in sports. Starting with the “adequate proportionality” in remunerations and prizes awarded to male and female athletes representing Portugal. As an example, the idea is, from 2029, to pay the same to Dolores Silva and Cristiano Ronaldo.

On August 4, 2022, following a guideline agreed upon by the European Union Member States, the Government has set up a working group for policies on gender equality in sports, under the aegis of the Deputy Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Ana Catarina Mendes. Among the 15 measures presented yesterday, in a ceremony at Alfândega do Porto, are the support to maternity of high performance athletes and the increase of women in management positions, as the DN reported a few days ago.

The recommendation of the working group coordinated by Leila Marques, vice-president of the Portuguese Paralympic Committee, aims to equalize, or at least approximate, the values distributed or awarded for presence in national teams by men and women, as well as the prizes awarded in sports events organized by entities with public utility or using public funding, paving the way for said equality.

The issue of equal pay for men and women in elite sports, and in particular in soccer put women’s soccer on the front burner when the US national team claimed this in court. A case they eventually lost. As early as 2023, Wales agreed to equalize pay, as England and Scotland already do. Spain, Brazil, Australia, and Norway are also in the process of implementing this measure.

In Portugal, the Portuguese Football Federation has established gender equality as one of its priorities until 2030. “We are very committed to this cause and have included in our plan for this decade – the Futebol 2030 plan, which is already underway – several projects that will help us reach the goals proposed in the report. Our reality has changed a lot in the last 10 years with the investment, close to 50 million euros, that we have made in women’s soccer”, said Fernando Gomes yesterday , recalling that there have never been so many federated practitioners of soccer, futsal and beach soccer (13,239), so many competitions and so many national teams created.

Now the Government and the Assembly of the Republic have the floor.

Look at the numbers and see

In the decade from 2010 to 2020, women’s sports grew by an average of 3527 athletes per year. If in 2010 there were 128,805 women athletes, in 2020 there were 164,075. Which means that in ten years Portugal gained 35 270 female athletes, an increase greater than that of men (30 109), according to data provided to DN by the Portuguese Institute of Sport and Youth.

Despite this great growth, parity is still a dirty word. Portugal has only 140 Olympic athletes and five medal winners – Rosa Mota, Fernanda Ribeiro, Vanessa Fernandes, Telma Monteiro and Patrícia Mamona. Of the 28 Olympic medals, five are gold and, of those, two are women: Rosa Mota (marathon, 1988) and Fernanda Ribeiro (10,000 meters, 1996). In the next Paris 2024 Olympic Games there will be as many male as female athletes, in the so-called parity games.

From post-maternity support to quotas for officers

To protect women athletes and prevent them from abandoning competition, the working group proposes the creation of “a 100% financial subsidy after the end of the 120 days of maternity leave” for the recovery of physical fitness to levels inherent to high performance, which should be ensured between this year and 2025. According to the working group, this is a time of “increased difficulty in reconciling personal, family, and professional life,” making “the obstacles facing women more visible.

The state should also try to increase the percentage of women in sports coaching, proposing, to this end, that it be free of charge for women to attend grade I coaching courses, in addition to having a reserve of enrollment places available in relation to the other levels. Clubs and federations with more than 10 registered coaches must have a proportion of up to 20% women in these registrations, rising to 33.3% from 2029.

Women are still far from leadership positions and, according to a study done by DN, in 2021 only one of the 33 federations of sports that have already been Olympic was led by a woman: Sandra Monteiro (baseball), who has since left the position. Now the Government wants to propose that the quota of women be no less than 20% as of 2024 in any entity connected to sports, namely Sports Corporations, which will increase to 40% by 2029. On the other hand, management positions in public entities connected to sports should exceed 40% by 2026.

To combat gender violence as a problem that affects all of society and sports, particularly girls and women, the group proposes, among other measures, to create effective reporting mechanisms and promote mandatory training for all sports agents who work directly with children and youth and high-performance athletes.

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