Five players from the U.S. women’s soccer team, including well known players Alex Morgan and Hope Solo, have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation due to pay discrimination. According to an article from the Boston Globe written by Kevin Paul Dupont, women soccer players earn as little as 40 percent less of their male counterpart’s salaries.
The lawsuit frustrates me because it shouldn’t even be a problem. If a team is consistently winning championships and titles, how are they paid less than one that doesn’t? It’s like seeing a kid in your class who never does his homework and does badly on his tests get an A when you stay up late studying for tests, do well on them and get a D in the class. Nothing about that is fair and neither is this wide wage gap.
Equal pay for equal work is an issue that’s always in the news, but nothing seems to be done about it. The equal work for equal pay is not just an issue in American soccer, but for FIFA. According to an article in the Huffington Post by Steve Keating, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke does not plan on giving women soccer teams the same pay as men in the World Cup. He said it’s an issue not even worth debating at this point because of how little the women’s teams have been around in comparison with the men’s.
I am a firm believer in equal work for equal pay and the fact that the women’s soccer team is only earning 40 cents for every dollar a male soccer player makes is awful. I was able to come across some statistics that show how much work the women’s soccer team has put in to get to where they are.
The women’s soccer team has won the World Cup three times while the men’s team is currently ranked 29th in the world. According to the U.S. soccer 2015 financial report, the women’s soccer team generated more than $20 million in revenue in 2014 than the men’s soccer team did. The men’s soccer team won’t even appear in this summer’s Rio Olympics.
Goalkeeper Hope Solo described the women’s soccer team situation perfectly when the five players filed their wage discrimination complaint.
“The numbers speak for themselves. We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships. The USMNT get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships,“ Solo said.
The lawsuit goes beyond equal work for equal pay. These women are bringing in gold medals while the men’s team hasn’t even been a qualifier for the World Cup since 2002. They compete with ferocity and pride, and don’t have the salary to show for it.
I honestly can’t believe that this is an issue; there are so many numbers to prove how worthy the women’s team is of a higher salary and they have to file a lawsuit to even make that an option. If anything, they should have been paid more than the men’s team. The work they put in is remarkable, yet they are being treated as less than their male counterparts.
People raise the question of how to solve the wage gap, but the only real solution is to just give equal pay. To me, the solution is as simple as that. Hopefully, the women’s soccer team will win their lawsuit, but that doesn’t guarantee that all women athletes will be paid the same as men. I believe that this issue is ignored and those who are paid less need to continue to point out this inequality. If this issue is continuously brought to light, I feel that it will be recognized and happen less frequently until it stops happening.
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I am supportive of equal pay in the workplace between women and men. Women should not be paid a lesser amount simply because they are not men. However, in professional athletics, it is a different story. Yes, as you stated, the women’s national team brought in $20 million more in revenue than the men, but it had to do with the payout from the World Cup. The women’s and men’s world cups take place in different years. So that discrepancy will happen. Also, the pay rate has nothing to do with success on the field, but the revenue generated. men’s international and national soccer generates more in financials. This is the same in professional basketball. Are you saying women’s basketball should be paid the same as men in the NBA when the WNBA only generates a fraction of the revenue? Also, the women requested a more substantial benefits package that the men did not. So the fact you receive a salary whether you are playing or not, a more substantial healthcare package, retirement, investments, and bonus pay should be taken into account. The men do not receive nearly the amount of perks the women do and that is why their pay is higher on a per game basis, because their entire benefits structure is different. This case is not as simple as people believe.