Is there room for more women at the top?

Brazil's Gabriel Barbosa (R) celebrates with teammate Neymar after scoring against Venezuela during their Conmebol Copa America 2021 tournament. Neymar's salary is almost exactly the same as 1693 female players.  

Photo credit: Nelson Almeida | AFP

The glass ceiling is a subtle but damaging form of discrimination where you cannot take the opportunities you see in front of you, despite your suitability. The glass ceiling still exists across various industries for different groups of people. Men still occupy most of the executive positions in corporations and other positions of power.

Although there is more attention given to these barriers, they are still present in the workplace. We have a gender pay gap. Despite that, even with a higher education level, women earn less than men. Although the difference between men’s and women’s earnings has declined in recent years, in 2016 women still received the equivalent of 76.5 per cent of men’s earnings.

This happens in politics, sports, business, and medicine and space exploration. Gender inequality in football is worse than in politics, according to a survey that compared the employment status and pay of thousands of male and female footballers worldwide.

Among a number of stark findings was that the combined pay of those playing in the top seven women’s football league equals that of a single male footballer, the Brazilian forward Neymar, who plays for the French club Paris St Germaine. His salary is almost exactly the same as 1693 female players in France, Germany, England, US, Sweden, Australia and Mexico combined according to the Sporting Intelligence annual salary survey.

The gender pay gap is often explained away by those who argue that men’s sport is much more commercially successful than women’s sport. The gender disparity applies to employment status, too. In England, the FA which banned women’s football for five decades until 1971, only relatively recently introduced a professional league.

While there are 137,021 male professionals in the world, there are only 1,287 female players. This represents just 0.93 per cent and compares unfavourably with even the most traditionally male-dominated industries. Is there space for more women at the top?

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A study done by researchers at Boston University school of medicine in the US found that women and men who regularly slept for more than nine hours a night were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s within 10 years than those who consistently slept less than nine hours. The recommended time to sleep a night is seven to eight hours.

What’s more, the study found that staying in the bed too long was likely to make your brain smaller too. So, next time you are tempted to stay under the covers for another hour, do your grey matter a favour by welcoming the day a little earlier. You could even use the time you have gained for a workout to give those brain cells an extra boost of oxygen.

Shirlyne Ouma, Nakuru


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