One fascinating thing for me has always been the disparity in pay between professional football players and cheerleaders. Now, don’t get all worked out because this is not me insinuating the two parties should be on level footing.
However, there’s something to be said for minimum wage individuals cheering on millionaires.
Former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, Erica Wilkins, sued the franchise last year.
“I remember I did an out of town appearance. It was my first year on the team meaning I’m making $100 flat rate for that appearance,” Wilkins explained. “I think it ended up being like a 16-hour day and I was paid a flat rate of $100 plus taxes being taken out of that. I think it was $88.”
According to Wilkins, the most she ever made in a year was $16,000. Meanwhile, Cowboys mascot, Rowdy, makes up to $60,000 per year.
“I think the message is really loud and clear that women’s work isn’t worth that much. Women are valued for being pretty and entertaining but not valued well enough to pay them for the really hard work they do,” said Emily Martin of the National Women’s Law Center.
Following Wilkins’ dispute, the Cowboys have increased the cheerleaders hourly pay from $8 to $12 an hour and their game-day pay went up from $200 to $400.
This is a step in the right direction.