for the women's elite start/prize money issue, I've always thought that the rule should be this:
If you apply for the women's elite start, and are denied, then if you run a time from the mass field that would have placed, you should get duplicate prize money equal to what you would have won (the cost of this could be covered with an insurance policy).
However, if you do NOT apply for the women's elite start, or if you opt out of it, then tough luck, no $ for you.
In my view, the sexism argument is that women have (had) to choose between the elite or the mass start in order to get prize $, while the men do not.
I would like to see the start revamped, so that the elite men start, then the elite women start two minutes later, and then the field starts 30 minutes after that. You still get the two separate races for men and women, and also now place men and women on the same footing with regard to the choice between elite and mass start. Then balance that out with my rule above about prize money.
The only issue with my plan, from a television basis, is that you've now got a bigger time gap between when the top men and top women finish.