Seeds: In the past 20 years, the US women’s soccer team has won three World Cups, four gold medals in the Olympic games, and nearly every Gold Cup championship. Last year alone they brought in $20 million more in revenue than the US men’s team whose greatest achievements are winning a few Gold Cup titles, coming in 3rd in the World Cup in 1930, and 4th place in the Olympics in 2000. Despite the clear difference in performance on the international level, the women’s team is reportedly making significantly less money (some team members argue that last year they made as little as ¼ of the men). This past March, five top players on the women’s team filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, stating that the U.S. Soccer Federation is guilty of wage discrimination.
Core: For example, both the men’s and women’s teams are required to play a minimum of 20 “friendly” matches, and the men are paid $5,000, if they win or lose, and the women are paid only $1,350 if they win, and even less if they lose. The men in these games can make up to $17,625, depending on the ranking of the team they played on (although they’ve never made that much because the US men’s soccer team is essentially the team equivalent of this guy on the international level). A general counsel member for the women’s team summed it up nicely saying, “Seventy-five percent of that compensation, both last year and over those eight years, is directly related to winning championships,” which basically means that the women’s team has to win championships just to almost make as much money as the men, when it seems that the men simply get paid to show up. Even more conversation has sprung about wage discrimination in regards to World Cup bonuses, Per Diems, and Sponsor payments. If you want to read about that, here ya go.
Skin: The team has gained numerous supporters via social media, igniting the fires of many a feminist who love to argue about the wage gap in the United States and the perpetual argument of the 79 cents women make to the $1 men. However, some state that the data in this case is being misrepresented given that the men’s team has been more lucrative in the last ten years. To this, others argue that the first women’s World Cup was held in 1991 and the men’s in 1930, so the sheer factor of time could have played into the team’s popularity and thus, revenue.
Leaves: In effort to combat what the girl’s soccer team saw as wage discrimination, the team attempted to go on strike against the federation. However, today a judge ruled that the women’s team could not go on strike because of their bargaining agreement.
Food For Thought: Do you think the Women’s National Team deserves to paid more? Do you think that there was gender based wage discrimination at play? Do you think the wage gap exists at all?