After USSF gives women $2 million for
After their 2015 World Cup triumph, the USWNT was honored with a parade down New York City’s Canyon of Heroes. And in 2016, they filed a lawsuit against United States Soccer Federation (USSF) with EECO short for the equal employment opportunity commission for violating the Equal Pay Act and Title VII – which protects employees against discrimination based on sex. Throughout the history of the world, discrimination in all forms has been a constant battle. One particular discrimination being the wage gap between genders. With the lawsuit the USWNT filed for equal pay on the field, many of the younger female fans in particular are inspired to achieve at the highest level of their sport simply knowing that they are one step closer to equality. As a result, the women’s team entered a federal agency known as the EEOC to begin their fight for equal pay. By standing tall, the women hope a victory will help close the gap, not just in sport, but in any job where women do the same work as men for less pay. To begin, much of the wage gap can be directly correlated to the differing pay structure and benefits between the genders. For example, Hope Solo, the USWNT goalkeeper for 19 years straight stated in an interview with CBS, “No. There’s two different pay structures. The men get paid per game. Whether they win or lose, they get paid. The women were on a salary-based contract” (O’Donnell) However, it’s a pay structure the women themselves wanted and agreed to in 2005 and again in 2013. This can consist of a salary of up to $72,000 a year and bonuses for wins of $1,350. They also get health insurance and maternity leave. On the other hand, men enjoy no guaranteed salary and fewer personal benefits, but they can make as much as $17,625 dollars for a win and a minimum of $5000 for a loss. In addition, the USSF gives women $2 million for a World Cup, whereas the men recieve an average of $39 million. In perspective, in 2015 Solo played a total of 23 games and earned $366,000. Tim Howard, the U.S. male goalkeeper played a total of 8 games for $398,495. Howard was essentially making 4 times the amount Solo did for the same work under the same employer. When confronted with these stats, the USSF responded with “Any differences in the compensation paid to MNT and WNT players are driven by factors other than gender” (Das). The most controversial factor being the structure the women have filed against. Another aspect of the wage gap can be seen by comparing performance statistics and incoming revenue between both leagues. According to FIFA, the woman in total have conquered four Olympic medals, three World Cups and are ranked number one in the world. The men on the other hand, are ranked twenty-fourth in the league and have won no World Cups or Olympic medals. When stating if the girls should be paid more than the men, Carli Lloyd whom is considered the number one female player in the world responded with “Yeah, absolutely… We win. We’re successful. We should get what we deserve” (O’Donnell). However in the previous years, the men’s soccer team generated more revenue through television viewers than the women have in result of their larger fan base. It wasn’t until 1990 when the women won their first cup, that the statistics began to turn around. The men, at their highest brought in 10 million television viewers for one game whereas; the women in their 2015 World Cup game against Japan, had generated more than 30 million American viewers which broke records on being the most watched American soccer game and women’s overall. However, the USSF has argued that the men cumulatively have had more viewers all together throughout the years and have had more successful performances in the past. To this Becky Sauerbrunn responded with “And they’re looking backwards, you know? We’re looking to go forwards from now and on and we’ve shown– and they’ve projected in their own financials that we are going to make them money. So it’s, I think, unfair to pay us less based on performances in the past. But to be paid equally, you know, it’s– it’s not about what they think it’s fair; it’s– it’s what is fair” (Goldberg). Last but not least, is the impact the women will have on future generations. According to the American Association of University Women, a release of a study shows when men and women attend the same kind of college, pick the same major and accept the same kind of job, on average, the woman will still earn 82 cents to every dollar that a man makes. This systematic discrimination dates centuries back to when women have been seen as invaluable, a housewife and not equal to men. By the USWNT demanding an equal and well deserved raise for both soccer teams from the same employer, they are essentially standing up for all the hardworking women who are earning that 82 cents compared to the dollar. Billie Jean, a 1970’s feminist tennis athlete stated ” Our ratio of prize money was about eight to one, and I think the women’s soccer is about four to one. And I know what your about to say– improvement. Improvement’s not enough. We’re supposed to be happy if we get one crumb. ‘ oh thank you, we’re so grateful!’ We deserve the cake, the icing, the cherry on top two. Just like the boys” (Comedy Central). In the end, women have been given more opportunity to rise in the social hierarchy, and although the USSF has not granted women an equal pay, they have made changes to the pay structure in order so they can receive more. However, the fight for wage equality is far from over. In October 2017, Norway inspired by the USWNT, announced that it will pay its men’s and women’s national soccer teams an equal amount after their MNT agreed to split some of their wages in order for their women counterparts to be paid equally. Union head Joachim Walltin stated in an interview “Norway is a country where equal standing is very important for us, so I think it is good for the country and for the sport” (Payne). USWNT’s Hope Solo commented on how Norway proved that women who are thought to be not as valuable as men is incorrect and that equality is possible. With the recent 2015 World Cup win alongside two more cups and four Olympic medals, few teams have been as successful on the soccer field as the United States Women’s National Team. However despite their achievements, the women’s team embarked on a legal fight on wage equality against their employer, the USSF. While at the top of their game, the women’s team has proved themselves to be just as valuable on the field as men. The ongoing issue of the past has now become an evident problem in our modern-day society. Women nowadays have opportunities that were not obtainable in the past. Whether its running a business or leading sports entertainment, the USWNT stood up for women by demanding equality between both genders.