The players of the U.S. women’s national soccer team are going after the U.S. Soccer Federation because they believe they are being discriminated against by receiving less pay than the men’s team. The women filed an official complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an agency that enforces equal pay laws, on March 30th.
The men’s team’s history has been, in short, unexceptional. With no major championship wins throughout the 103 years of the team’s existence, their success is miniscule in comparison to the women. The women’s team played their first ever match in 1985 and have three world cup titles and four Olympic gold medals.
The women’s team have definitely brought more attention to U.S. Soccer recently, as well. The final game of the 2015 Women’s World Cup–which the U.S. won–was the most watched soccer game on television in America. Ever. Along with that came the nine-game-long victory tour which packed stadiums across the states.
Even with all their success, a women’s team member makes $1,350 for an international friendly match only if they win. A men’s team member will receive $17,625 for a win and $5,000 for just showing up.
Not only is the team being paid less as individuals, a considerable less amount of money is annually spent by the federation on the program. In 2015, U.S. Soccer spent $11 million to run the women’s program and $30 million on the men.
The federation is firing back by saying that the women bring in less money than the men’s program. The players that filed the complaint responded by posting recent financial reports that prove they’ve been the major force behind the money U.S. Soccer has been bringing in.
While only five members of the team (Megan Rapinoe, Hope Solo, Becky Sauerbrunn, Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan) signed the complaint, the full team is completely behind it. The decision to file has been supported by their teammates on many social media platforms by hashtagging #EqualPlayEqualPay. The women hope that this lawsuit may kickstart other movements in other sports for equal pay for female athletes.
By Madison Goodmiller