The US Women’s National Team (WNT) has been fighting with the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) for equal pay. In March, before the 2019 Women’s World Cup, 28 members of the WNT filed a lawsuit against the USSF for gender discrimination and unequal pay. “We show up for the game. If we win the game, if we lose the game, if we tie the game, we want to be paid equally, period,” stated Meghan Rapinoe on ABC.
Molly Levinson, who is the spokeswoman of the females involved in the lawsuits, expressed: “The USSF has repeatedly admitted that it does not pay the women equally and that it does not believe the women even deserve to be paid equally.” This irritated numerous people and instigated several protests for equal pay. Amid the celebration of winning the world cup, chants of “Equal Pay! Equal Pay!” broke out in the Stade de Lyon and throughout the victory tour in New York. “Here is what they [USSF] cannot deny. For every game a man plays on the MNT, he makes a higher base salary payment than a woman on the WNT. For every comparable win or tie, his bonus is higher. That is the very definition of gender discrimination. For the USSF to believe otherwise, it is disheartening but it only increases our determination to obtain true equal pay.”
The pay gap is shocking. In the 2018 Men’s World Cup, participants split $400 million whereas in the 2019 Women’s World Cup, participants split $30 million, which is a fraction as to what the men received. Although the USWNT is more successful than the Men’s National Team (MNT), they earn much less. The USSF argue that they pay men more than women because they gain more revenue in a men’s soccer match than in a women’s. Although that was true, it is beginning to change. “From 2016 to 2018, women’s games generated about $50.8 million in revenue compared with $49.9 million for the men, according to U.S. soccer’s audited financial statements. In 2016, the year after the World Cup, the women generated $1.9 million more than the men,” noted the Wall Street Journal.
Currently, the USSF and the 28 athletes who filed a lawsuit are still having talks about the matter. “I think that if and whenever they are willing to have a conversation about equal pay that starts there and goes forward, we’re always open to that,” stated Megan Rapinoe. If no solution is found, it will go to trial. As Rapinoe commented, “…the ball is in their court.”