The U.S. Women’s soccer team is suing U.S. Soccer Federation over sexism and discrimination. This lawsuit is backed by 28 members of the team, including stars Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and Carli Lloyd.
Gender discrimination can be seen across all aspects of sports, from game attendance to player salaries. (It is well-known that the male counterparts of the U.S. Women’s team have higher wages.)
This is not the first time that the team or members of the team have filed legal documents in order to achieve equality. In 2016, four members of the team — Morgan, Rapinoe, Lloyd, and Becky Sauerbrunn, on behalf of all female athletes — filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision (EEOC). Though this proved unfruitful, in 2017, the team and the U.S. Soccer Federation agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement through 2021 that would raise the wages of all the players. Though the details were never made clear to the public, it is speculated that there may have been up to a 30 percent increase in pay.
Despite this, in the newly filed lawsuit, one of the plaintiffs explained that the pay for international friendly competitions differs dramatically from for men and women. The men would earn about $13,000 per match while the women would earn about $5,000, despite them both performing the exact same work.. This difference in pay is not something exclusive to the sports world; however, it may be hard to find a sector of the job force that has such a distinct wage difference as sports.
The Women’s National Team will be competing in the Women’s World Cup in France starting June 7. The U.S. is the current champion and is the early favorite to repeat its success from four years ago. But its success is in jeopardy of being marred by the pending lawsuit, and you can almost guarantee that the lawsuit will be brought up as a potential distraction if the U.S. team underperforms.
The lawsuit similarly quotes that the women’s team, after its success in the 2015 World Cup, received a third of the money the men’s team received for its elimination in the final 16 in the 2014 World Cup. FIFA is responsible for awarding the prize money to nations after their tournaments. However, it awards a sum of money to a nation who is then responsible for dividing it among their own players consequently making it the responsibility of the U.S. Soccer Federation for the inequality of pay.
Though the lawsuit is still in its early stages, the women’s looks likely to achieve its goal due to the support from the men’s team. It is now up to the U.S. Soccer Federation to respond by either agreeing to the terms or going to court.