Here’s what you need to know about what’s happening with the US Women’s National soccer team. And yes, it’s a big deal.
Five members of the USWNT, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, Hope Solo and Alex Morgan, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission because of wage discrimination. They believe that the women’s team should be paid an equal amount as the men’s team. Crazy, right? Although that might seem like a no brainer to us, this complaint angered the United States Soccer Federation. The Federation believes that they it has done a lot over the past few decades to build the women’s soccer program in the United States. But as the wage discrimination between men and women in the workplace has been more prominent in the news and in politics, and with the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics, now is the time for the women team to speak out.
In June 2015, in front of over 26 million people, the USWNT won the Women’s World Cup. It was the most watched soccer game in US history. Along with the cup, they also received $2 million from winning the tournament, to be distributed to the players and the U.S. Soccer Federation. When the US men’s team played in the 2014 Men’s World Cup, they lost in the round of 16 but still managed to still earn $9 million. Germany, who won the cup, earned $35 million.
According to ESPN, some of the numbers cited in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filing were: “The women would earn $99,000 each if they won 20 friendlies, the minimum number they are required to play in a year. But the men would likely earn $263,320 each for the same feat, and would get $100,000 even if they lost all 20 games. Additionally, the women get paid nothing for playing more than 20 games, while the men get between $5,000 and $17,625 for each game played beyond 20.” For a more visual representation of this wage gap, click here.
Also, the women’s team has won three World Cup championships and four Olympic championships while the men’s team hasn’t won either title. They did not even qualify to play in the 2016 Summer Olympics. USWNT Goalkeeper Hope Solo points out, “the [men] get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.”
The pay is not the only thing unequal about the two teams. The men’s World Cup is played on high quality grass while the women’s World Cup is played on artificial turf. To understand the absurdity of this, read about this incident in Hawaii. Also, their travel accommodations aren’t equal. The men travel first class while the women often fly coach. The list goes on.
Here’s the real kicker (pun intended): in 2015, the USWNT generated more revenue for the United States Soccer Federation than the men’s team. They made approximately $2 million more, and this year they are also projected to make more than the men’s team.
The player’s attorney, Jeffrey Kessler, told reporters, “The reality is that this team is more valuable to the USSF than the men’s team has been. That’s what the facts show. And they would be justified in asking for more than the men are receiving. But the first step that they are seeking is equal treatment. That should be an easy step for the USSF to take.”
It is finally time for the USWNT to speak up about wage discrimination, and by doing this they are benefiting not only themselves, but women all around the world who are not being paid as much as their male counterparts.