The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to require event organizers to pay men and women equally in competitions that award prize money.
The ordinance requires any entity or person who is approved for a special event permit to equalize prize money for all gender categories engaged in a competition.
“If we look at how women are punished in the business world when it comes to the pay gap between men and women doing the same work, it is absolutely not surprising that gender-pay disparity is also alive and well in sports, including sports where women’s events, like soccer and tennis, are huge money-making ventures for those who profit off their labor,” Council President Nury Martinez said. “The city of Los Angeles should lead on bringing women out of the dark ages of pay disparity, and that’s what this legislation is designed to do.”
The council had no discussion on the matter Wednesday before taking the final action to send the proposed law to Mayor Eric Garcetti for him to consider signing.
Although special permit holders are now required to provide equal pay, that won’t prohibit events involving major sports leagues like the NBA and WNBA, whose teams have a lease to use the city’s arenas and stadiums.
Councilman David Ryu and Martinez co-authored a resolution last year in support of a bill that would freeze federal funds for the 2026 World Cup and 2028 Olympic Games unless the U.S. Soccer Federation agrees to equally pay both of its national teams.
Los Angeles is slated to host the 2028 Summer Games and is a candidate city to host World Cup matches in 2026.
City officials said last fall, when the proposal was being considered by council committees, that many events that offer prize money look to host events for multiple years in Los Angeles and have a stake in being a good partner with the city.
If the proposal is signed by Garcetti, Los Angeles can almost immediately require event organizers to pay men and women equally through the permit process, and city officials said they could look into providing earlier notice of the equal pay requirement prior to events so organizers are not caught off guard by the new laws.
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