ESPN campus.

Sports Illustrated media columnist Richard Deitsch’s column Monday included an interesting nugget about how female ESPN employees are working together to fight gender-based income disparities at the network.

Per Deitsch, some women in Bristol have begun sharing each other’s salaries in an attempt to understand the company’s structure and gain leverage in future contract negotiations.

Via SI:

While talent agents have a good idea of the financial marketplace at sports networks, the on-air talent and producers are not always aware of who is making what at a company. This will be especially valuable for ESPN female on-air reporters and commentators come contract time as traditionally males in those positions have been paid far more than women in Bristol (in some cases, I’ve heard, six figures more), even with ESPN’s leadership position of giving women prominent front-facing roles.

Comparing salaries is always a useful strategy in combatting pay inequality. Naturally, you can’t have a sense of what your company will offer people at your level, nor whether salaries are dispensed fairly, without knowing what your colleagues make. It’s much easier to both bargain for better pay and contest unjust policies if you have a broader sense of the company’s salary structure.

According to the American Association of University Women, working women in the United States are paid only 80 percent of what men in equivalent positions make. No one seems to have studied gender pay gaps in sports media, let alone at ESPN specifically, but given the male-dominated nature of the sports world, it’s fair to assume the industry is not immune to such disparities.

Though ESPN has put numerous women in high-profile positions, the network’s most prominent personalities are, and have always been, men. Of the shows ESPN airs on a typical weekday, only The Jump and SportsNation are fronted by women, compared to at least a half dozen programs built around men.

It is impossible to know how much of that disparity owes to the talent of the specific personalities involved and how much owes to bias against women, but it presumably can’t hurt to have women working together to fight for fairness.

[Sports Illustrated]

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.