The Entire U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Just Sued Soccer Federation For Gender Discrimination & Equal Pay

No matter what industry women work in, the gender wage gap is a major problem. But now, all 28 members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team are taking a stand for equal pay and have sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for gender discrimination. 

On Friday, which was the same day as International Women’s Day, the team filed a federal gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, according to The New York Times. Any athlete who has been part of the team since February 4, 2015  also can join the suit.

Despite the team earning more money and winning more championships, they’ve claimed in the suit that the men’s team have received significantly higher salaries and other discrepancies such as better training and playing conditions, coaching, and travel arrangements. They also alleged that they’ve experienced “institutionalized gender discrimination,” The Times reports. The team is requesting in the suit back pay, damages, equal pay and treatment.

In a legal document for the suit, provided byTime, it states that the team has experienced “purposeful gender discrimination even during times when the WNT [Women’s National Soccer team] earned more profit, played more games, won more games, earned more championships, and/or garnered higher television auditions.”

In addition, the female athletes also claimed that the men’s and women’s team are treated differently by the federation. According to Refinery29, the women’s team had to fly on commercial flights more than the men’s team, and the suit claims that the USSF often spends less to promote their soccer games. 

Despite promises made by U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro to change this, they also have claimed that the organization has “paid only lip service to gender equality and continues to practice gender-based discrimination against its champion female employees on the WNT in comparison to its less successful male employees on the MNT [Men’s National Soccer team].” 

This isn’t the first time that the U.S. women’s soccer team has called out the federation for pay discrimination. According to the NPR, five members of the women’s team filed a complaint against the USSF with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In 2015, the women’s team earned almost $20 million more than the men’s team, but the complaint alleged that they’ve only received 25 percent of what the male players did. Former goalkeeper Hope Solo also filed a separate pay discrimination lawsuit with the EEOC in 2018.