Earlier this month, players on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, saying that they earn less than players on the men’s team earn — despite the fact that the men’s team is markedly less successful.
According to The Washington Post, the suit alleges that the U.S. Soccer Federation has “utterly failed to promote gender equality” and argues that federation officials have “gone so far as to claim that ‘market realities are such that the women do not deserve to be paid equally to the men.’”
The men’s and women’s teams have separate collective bargaining agreements, and the men’s is far more lucrative than the women’s. This is despite the fact that women’s team is ranked No. 1 internationally … and the men’s team hasn’t won an Olympic medal since 1904.
Per the suit:
A comparison of the WNT and MNT pay shows that if each team played 20 friendlies in a year and each team won all 20 friendlies, female WNT players would earn a maximum of $99,000 or $4,950 per game, while similarly situated male MNT players would earn an average of $263,320 or $13,166 per game against the various levels of competition they would face.
The 28 members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team are suing under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association is not participating in the lawsuit, but released a statement saying that it “supports the plaintiffs’ goal of eliminating gender-based discrimination by USSF.”
The Associated Press notes that the players filed suit in U.S. District Court on March 8 — International Women’s Day. The players are seeking damages, including back pay.
Why You Should Care About the Gender Pay Gap in Sports
“While the women of the U.S. national soccer team undoubtedly hold a privileged place within the fight for wage equality—they are not the women in the trenches of minimum-wage level work—their positions as athletes, workers in a very physical and male-dominated profession, makes their experiences similar to the type of discrimination that women in other physical, male-dominated professions frequently face,” writes Maggie Mertens at The Atlantic.
Currently, a woman in the U.S. earns about 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man, according to PayScale’s report, The State of the Gender Pay Gap. Even when we control the data for compensable factors like experience, industry and job level, women earn about 98 cents to a man’s dollar.
“We believe it is our duty to be the role models that we’ve set out to be and fight to what we know we legally deserve,” said forward Christen Press, speaking with The Associated Press. “And hopefully in that way it inspires women everywhere.”
More on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s fight for equal pay:
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