Everything That You Need To Know About The USWNT Equal Pay Lawsuit

At the beginning of March, all players on the current roster for the United States Women’s National Soccer team filed a discrimination lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation in regards to their lesser pay in comparison to their male counterparts. To add significance to the claim being made, the team filed the lawsuit on International Women’s Day. Female soccer players’ salaries are 40 percent of what a male soccer player’s salary is in the United States. To put things into perspective, the USWNT won two million dollars when they were named world champions, whereas Germany’s men's national team won $35 million when they received the same title. Not only is this unfair to the women who hold the same responsibilities and are putting in the same amount of effort that their male counterparts are, but it is downright disrespectful.

 

The lawsuit filed claims that the U.S. Soccer Federation is responsible for much more than unequal pay. The members of the team who filed the lawsuit also claimed that they were receiving lesser trainers, facilities and equipment than that of the men’s team. Many have asked why the women are doing this when they already receive considerable pay, but players have not hesitated on answering that question.

To these women, it is not about the money, it is about using their platform and speaking up for things that matter. “This team, we're kind of a visible team — people watch us play and know our names. So I think it's important that we kind of take that on, and we show that we are empowered women and that we will fight for things that we believe in, like pay equality,” USWNT player Becky Sauerbrunn told ESPNW. Being a role model for younger women is something that the USWNT highly values, so when they have a chance to make a statement, they pounce on the opportunity.

Unfortunately, if something comes from the lawsuit, we will not see any results in the near future. In 2014, when conversations of equal pay started, FIFA predicted that women are 23 World Cups away from possibly seeing the wage gap close. Given that the World Cup is played every four years, this wouldn’t happen for almost another century from now. Even though the money is not a main priority for the team, it is frustrating that it is not a priority for the federation.

It is known that the pay gap is an issue in just about every profession, but when you actually crunch the numbers, it’s extremely alarming. According to Forbes, WNBA players were paid 20 percent of what NBA players were paid in 2017. The minimum pay for an NBA player is around $580,000 whereas the maximum salary for a WNBA player is $110,000. The average salary for an NBA referee is $150,000. Yes, a referee makes more money than a player. Disappointed is an understatement, but thanks to women like the 28 players who filed a lawsuit against an entire organization, things are headed in a great direction.