At the 2019 Women’s World Cup, the United States defeated Holland 2-0. After the game, fans celebrated in the stadium in Lyon, chanting “equal pay,” and this month all of the current players on the women’s team filed a lawsuit against the USA Soccer Federation.
The United States Women’s Soccer team has won four World Cups in 1991, 1999, 2015 and 2019, as well as four Olympic championships in 1996, 2004, 2008 and 2012.
For three decades, the women’s national team has consistently been considered a world powerhouse with their successes and is currently ranked number one in the world by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, otherwise known as FIFA.
On the other hand, the United States Men’s National team has yet to win a major tournament and did not qualify for the Olympics in 2016 or the 2018 World Cup. The men’s team is currently ranked 22 in the nation by FIFA.
There is no question about which team is representing American soccer best. The success of the women’s team speaks for itself, and the results of their performance should be enough. Viewership is also an important argument for the women’s team. During the 2019 women’s World Cup final, 14.3 million Americans tuned in to watch, which is a 22% increase of viewership compared to the 2018 Men’s World Cup Final, according to CNBC.
Additionally, according to the Wall Street Journal, the women’s team generates more revenue than the men’s team, “since the 2015 USWNT’s World Cup win sparked a new level of American interest in the women’s game, from 2016 through 2018: $50.8 million in revenue vs. $49.9 million for the men.”
You would think that the team that is performing the best, not only out of the two national teams, but is winning major tournaments, and bringing in more revenue than a team that fails to even qualify for these same major tournaments, would be paid equally to their male counterparts.
Well, unfortunately, this is not the case.
Back in 2016, members of the United States women’s team filed a wage-discrimination action against the U.S. Soccer Federation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which resulted in a Collective Bargaining Agreement, that allowed for increased salaries and bonus opportunities.
However, this agreement did not guarantee equal pay with the men’s team.
The 2020 lawsuit was filed for “institutional gender discrimination,” according to official documents from the law firm of Winston and Strawn, which is inclusive of payment of players, as well as playing, practicing, and traveling conditions.
The U.S. Soccer Federation responded with a horrifyingly, disgusting response, including statements like “All these facts demonstrate that the job of [A U.S. men’s player] carries more responsibility within U.S. soccer than the job of [a U.S. women’s player],” and “a reasonable juror could conclude that the job of a [U.S. men’s] player requires materially different skill and more responsibility than [the U.S. women’s] job does, while also taking place under materially different working conditions.”
As a nation and community that needs to foster women’s sports, as well as teach young girls that their roles are just as meaningful as males, this kind of statement is simply inexcusable and quite frankly, a disgrace.
Thankfully, since then, the U.S. soccer president Carlos Cordeiro has stepped down after giving a meaningless and perfunctory apology, and has been replaced by Cindy Parlow, former member of the U.S. women’s national team.
The women of the U.S. national team have collectively responded to the offensive statements by turning their jerseys inside out, hiding the U.S. soccer patch during one of their games of the She Believes Cup, a tournament which they also won, this past March.
Megan Rapinoe, co-captain of the team responded in a post-game interview.
“To every girl out there, to every boy out there, who watches this team, who wants to be on this team or just wants to live their dream out, you are not lesser just because you’re a girl. You are not better just because you’re a boy,” Rapinoe said.
The U.S. women’s team and the federation have set a court date for May 5, 2020, CNN reports.
The fact that the women’s national team is still fighting for equal pay is unfair and ridiculous. They have represented the country, as well as females everywhere with their hard work and success.
As fans, as supporters, and most importantly, as a nation, we can not accept anything less for equal pay and treatment for the women of the U.S. national team, and we most certainly can not accept people, especially men, in power making harmful and sexist statements that demean the success and work these women have put into the sport.
For the sake of athletes, fans and this country, we need to send a message that females deserve the same recognition as men do for the same work, if not better. We need to send a message to girls everywhere that they have worth in the field of athletics.
Most of all, we need to hold others accountable, and not accept comments that are bigoted, intolerant and inappropriate.
Equal pay is what the U.S. women’s team deserves, so let’s continue to do our part and support what they are worthy of.