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California agency mandated equal pay for women in surfing competition – could and should this set a precedent?




US Courtney Conlogue surfs during the first day of the ASP women world tour Billabong Rio Pro 2013 at Barra de Tijuca beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on May 10 , 2013.
US Courtney Conlogue surfs during the first day of the ASP women world tour Billabong Rio Pro 2013 at Barra de Tijuca beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on May 10 , 2013.
CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images

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Women athletes getting paid less than their male counterparts is nothing new, but a recent move from a state commission in California could change the way athletes are paid, specifically if they are competing on state-owned land.

According to CalMatters, the commission includes Democratic politicians Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Controller Betty Yee, and though they haven’t voted on the issue yet they are likely to support it, with Yee stating that if competitions are to take place on public lands, then they should abide by equal gender rules.

But should the state have a say in determining the pay of athletes participating in sporting events? And how is pay across genders determined in other sports? What kinds of leverage do athletes have for negotiating higher pay?

Guest:

David Berri, professor of economics at Southern Utah University who researches gender in sports; he tweets @wagesofwins