By Madalyn McKnight
The first time I watched First Wives Club and heard the 1985 hit, “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves”, I likened myself to Aretha Franklin and believed every word. The saying, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself”, had to be coined by a woman. Some would say I am too independent, but I am the most reliable person in my life (besides God of course), but if I do not grind for me, then who will? News broke regarding the changes made to WNBA players’ wages and benefits and this song was the first to come to mind. The sisters are really doing it…for themselves.
The league announced an agreement that would mean players can earn 3 times their pay at a new rate of $500,000, have maternity leave with full salary, spaces in the arenas for nursing mothers, and even assistance with adoption, fertility, and surrogacy. The league’s teams will provide housing, travel pay and accommodations, and other contract restrictions will be lifted. Concessions on both sides of the table are about to create a new face for the sport of women’s basketball.
Although the contract is set for 8 years, I hope the trend for making the business (and money) of sports more accommodating for women is not the anomaly, but the standard. The WNBA launched in 1997 and more than 20 years later, has seen the retirement of several prominent women who did not get anywhere near this support from the league and many others. But alas, it is still a victory and a victory that matters. I was grinning from ear to ear.
From the United States Women’s Soccer Team to basketball, sisters are indeed taking their professional lives in their own hands and making the country listen. It’s about time!
*featured photo by Pascal Photographs via nappy.co
Madalyn McKnight is a Contributing Writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. A rare blackbird who has the range and a young black professional with impactful words! Follow her on Instagram and Facebook at @singsongblackbird and twitter @singsongblckbrd