Mark Lawson has been chosen by the powers that be at the Guardian to respond to the news that women will finally be paid the same in prize money as men are at Wimbledon. Why they don't ask a female or at least feminist writer is beyond me. He makes a right mess of things. Firstly he goes into the oft-repeated-seldom-thought-through arguement that the women's game is short, three sets rather than five. The stupidity of this line of reasoning is illustrated by asking any female tennis player on the planet whether she'd rather play five sets for full money or three sets for less. The answer will not vary much.
He other key points include: "The truth is that - however assiduously women's football, cricket and rugby are encouraged - it is unlikely that millions of viewers will ever tune in to see a Paula Gascoigne or Andrea Flintoff in the finals of their tournaments." Which you can go tell to the American women whose sport is considerably more popular with both viewers and players than the male equivalent.
And "The sports that involve physical contact or some risk of death - major ball games and motor racing - simply seem more susceptible to testosterone." When did cricket become a sport with physical contact? And how many football players are subject to a risk of death? And if he's in the mood to tell Laila Ali about how her hormones are all wrong for participating in dangerous sports, he may not live to regret it.
I can't help thinking that if, as he claims, women are naturally less drawn to sports than men, since we all need exercise to stay healthy, we should respond by putting more money into womens sport to encourage greater participation.
The real issue here is equal opportunities. If women are not allowed to compete in the men's game, then the prize money must be the same - otherwise the opportunity to earn is different. Wimbledon's move is outrageously overdue and still only solves a tiny fraction of the problem but at least it is a move in the right direction. Inviting Mark Lawson to comment on women's issues clearly isn't.