Women’s soccer shines light on inequality

On April 1, five members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team filed a lawsuit claiming wage discrimination based on gender against the U.S. Soccer Federation. Unfortunately, this was no April Fool’s joke.

Photo courtesy of Rachael C. King via Flickr
Photo courtesy of Rachael C. King via Flickr

The success of the U.S. men’s soccer team doesn’t come near the level of success that  the U.S. women’s soccer has and it probably never will.

The men will be missing their second consecutive Olympic Games and are on the verge of not making it to the next World Cup.

On the other hand, the women are the best in the world. They are consistently ranked No. 1 and set the standard for the sport. They have three World Cup victories, four Olympic Gold Medals and the record for most consecutive games unbeaten at 51. Most importantly, they are also an inspiration to young female soccer players everywhere.

“I have always looked up to the women. I know I’m not the only female soccer player to say I dreamed of playing on the national team,” sophomore Regal soccer player Olivia Leyva said.

Yet, they still receive a lesser salary than the male players. According to an article from ESPN, while the women receive a base salary with bonuses for winning, the men receive pay for each game and a bonus on top of that for winning. This means that the men could lose all 20 of their required friendlies and make $100,000 while the women could win all twenty of their friendlies and only receive $99,000. If the men won all 20 they would be paid $263,320. 

The filing also contains many other monetary statistics to support its claims. According to the same article from ESPN, these include: the women earned $30,000 for making the World Cup roster while the men made $69,000 and the women received $2 million for winning this summer’s Women’s World Cup while the men received $9 million for their less than impressive 1-2-1 World Cup appearance in Brazil in 2014.

“The fact that the best female athletes in the world can’t be equal to their counterparts shows a total lack of respect and integrity they have rightfully earned,” Leyva said.

Unfortunately this gender gap is not limited to sports. According to an article from the Huffington Post, on average for every dollar men make, women make 79 cents.  While the point can be made that in society, one of the reasons for the gender pay gap is because women and men go into different industries and jobs, this is not the case here. Women and men are performing the same job here, playing soccer and women are still being paid less.

Companies have felt more pressure recently to come forward about their pay of men and women. According to an article from the Huffington Post, Amazon announced that women were paid “99.9 percent of what men made,” while Apple said men get paid more than women.

The U.S. Soccer Federation should work toward wage transparency like Apple and Amazon have. Instead, the Us Soccer Federation responded to the complaint by their women’s team by saying they were “disappointed,” according to the Huffington Post.

In an interview with the Today show, starting goalkeeper Hope Solo said, “In this day and age, it’s about equality. It’s about equal rights. It’s about equal pay. We’re pushing for that. We believe now the time is right because we believe it’s our responsibility for women’s sports and specifically for women’s soccer to do whatever it takes to push for equal pay and equal rights. And to be treated with respect.”

At the end of the day, there should be no reason that women are being paid less than men, in the business world or in sports. Like Solo said, this is about equality and getting the respect they rightfully deserve.

Coral Hasley
Staff Writer
Published April 13th, 2016