Here's a question for you: Why would a cycling club, which has perhaps the greatest percentage of female cyclists of any Victorian club, which has a dedicated women's development squad, which has women's subcommittee whose stated aim is "To encourage, support and provide opportunities for women of all ages and abilities to reach their cycling goals", not pay equal prize money at their team time trial challenge? That's right, St Kilda Cycling Club, I'm talking about you. It's bad enough you have a quasi-racist Phil Liggett quote on your front page ("The Colombians are wonderful climbers, they just tend to fall off their bikes a lot on the descents," Don't get me wrong, I love Phil as much as you do, but he's been around a while, and blokes of his age have a tendency to drop the odd racist clanger. Don't think that's a racist statement? Lumping distinct individuals into one group based on their nationality ok by you? Perhaps you need to read more of this blog). But really, with all the work you've put into ensuring women feel welcome at your club, why would you slap them in the face with this second-class citizen bullshit?
At the Cyclocross we paid equal prize money. Not just for men and women, but across the grades and categories. If you won the A grade cyclocross, you got the same as whoever won the B grade open bikes. Equal prize money across the grades and genders is a system that is open to abuse, but was - in our experience - rarely abused. It acknowledges that in a race everyone is busting their guts, regardless of whether it's D grade averaging 30ks an hour, or A grade averaging 50. Or whether they're women racing other men, or women racing other women.
It could be argued that this creates a disincentive for elite riders to turn up. Here's the thing, though - elite riders aren't riding for the hundred dollars they might win at St Kilda on a Sunday morning. They're racing to win. The amount of money on the line doesn't matter. It's the win that they want above all else.
But when you're telling someone that their win is somehow worth less than the win of others - especially if it's because of their gender - then that's kinda fucked up.