This month, the US Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) won the 2019 Women’s World Cup, marking their fourth victory in the competition. Yet while the team was continuing their winning streak of 13-0 against Thailand and so on, it also drew attention to the issue of equal pay and civil rights amongst athletes.
Gender discrimination is a common issue all over the world; with female salary consistently being lower than their counterparts, the issue of wage disparity has yet to be resolved. This fight continues to the US women’s team. While the US men’s team currently ranks 30th worldwide, these male athletes still earn more when they lose than when their female counterparts win. According to the US Soccer Federation (USSF), the base salary for female players is $3,600 per game while men earn a staggering $5,000. Playing on an international stage like the World Cup, women earn a $15,000 bonus while men earn $55,000. Thus, these statistics show that regardless of the tournament results, male players generally earn significantly more than female players. In fact in 2015 as well, the USSF awarded the women’s team with $1.7 million for winning the World Cup. Yet in the year prior, the men’s team received $5.4 billion after losing the round 16.
In response to such disparities, the 28 members of the women’s national team sued the USFF for gender discrimination on March 8, International Women’s Day. The US fans showed support of this act both by tweeting in support and chanting “equal pay” during the finals in France. While the two sides were originally meant to debate matters in court, the team and USSF have agreed to mediate and come to an agreement to attempt at closing the pay gap without having a trial. The new agreement provisions are meant to guarantee a higher bonus for wins in friendly games and tournaments. But the differences in bonuses in the World Cup is another matter that the USSF still needs to be addressed; after all, the performance the women’s team gave clearly deserves much higher than what was given.
The gender wage gap is not only limited to the soccer team, the US Women’s National Hockey Team, WNBA stars, and tennis players such as Serena Williams, all face the same issue. Through such blatantly illogical statistics and the clear support of the public, there clearly needs to be a change.