The U.S. Women's Soccer Team is Fighting for Equal Pay

Twenty-eight members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) on March 8th, 2019. The USSF employs both the Women’s National Team and the Men’s National Team as they compete on a global scale. A statement from the first paragraph of the suit states:

“Despite the fact that these female and male players are called upon to perform the same job responsibilities on their teams and participate in international competitions for their single common employer, the USSF, the female players have been consistently paid less money than their male counterparts.[1]

The lawsuit  discusses the pay gap between the men’s and women’s teams, but also how the USSF’s discrimination “affects not only their paychecks but also where they play and how often, how they train, the medical treatment and coaching they receive, and even how they travel to matches.[2]” This suit comes just three months before the USWNT looks to defend their third World Cup title with their first match scheduled for June 11.

The injustices acted out by the USSF can easily be described by comparing the women’s and men’s salaries per game. If both teams were to play 20 games and win all of them, the USWNT players would earn a maximum of $99,000, or $4,950 a game, while the men’s team players could make up to $263,320, or $13,166 per game[3]. Along with these enraging statistics, according to the USSF’s 2015 financial statement, they invested $31,116,527 into the men’s team compared to just $10,307,142 spent on the USWNT[4].

The giant disparity of funding along with the incomparable salary difference would constitute gender discrimination alone, but the USWNT’s success makes for an even stronger case. The USWNT has won three FIFA World Cups and four Olympic gold medals while the men’s team has never won an Olympic gold medal and did not even qualify for the last World Cup. On July 5, 2015, the Women’s World Cup final match – USA vs. Japan – had “23 million viewers making it the most watched soccer game in American TV history.[5]” The USWNT is not only a global powerhouse, but it has consistently maintained a roster featuring some of the world’s greatest athletes – Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, Carli Lloyd, Abby Wambach, Christie Rampone and many more.

The USWNT has been a source of inspiration and empowerment for not only girls and young women, but for all Americans since the inception of their squad. This team and the plethora of remarkable athletes within it have surpassed all expectations while the men’s team has struggled to live up to their own. If the USWNT was mediocre they would still deserve equal pay, but due to their legendary status on the global level and importance to the United States as a whole, they should be making much more than their male counterparts. Since the USWNT filed the lawsuit against the USSF, they have garnered great public support from citizens and corporations such as LUNA Bar, who donated $31,250 to each member of the 2019 World Cup roster. While this is great, citizens and corporations should not have to carry the burden of making up for the USSF’s discrimination, so hopefully the right decision is made and these women get paid.

Image Sources: 1, 2

[1] United States District Court Central District of California Western Division, Case 2:19-cv-01717, pg.1, https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/653-us-womens-soccer-complaint/f...

[2] Das, Andrew, “U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Sues U.S. Soccer for Gender Discrimination” The New York Times; https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/08/sports/womens-soccer-team-lawsuit-gen...

[3] United States District Court Central District of California Western Division, Case 2:19-cv-01717, pg.11, https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/653-us-womens-soccer-complaint/f...

 

[5] United States District Court Central District of California Western Division, Case 2:19-cv-01717, pg.7, https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/653-us-womens-soccer-complaint/f...