By: Shivani Gosai | Student Columnist
The “Sportswomen of the Century,” a title that usually is “Sportsmen of the century,” are the players on the United States women’s soccer team.
However, the U.S. Soccer Federation refuses to recognize them.
Five women on the U.S. women’s national soccer team – Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn – are fighting against the federation for equal pay.
The women’s team found in the Federation’s financial report that they earn 25 percent less than the men’s team, even after they generated about $20 million more in revenue than the men’s U.S. team did in 2015.
The players are filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which fights against workplace discrimination and implements fair pay for all workers.
The U.S. Soccer Federation has clearly been neglecting its best team for reasons that can only be blatant sexism. The women on the team have worked hard and brought in more than enough revenue to justify their complaints.
When the women asked for pay that was fair to their earnings, they were told that their demands were “irrational,” said their attorney, Jeffrey Kessler, in an interview with Today News.
To call the player’s fight for equality “irrational” is misogynistic. These women work just as hard as the men; after training their whole lives to get to the highest position in soccer, they deserve their fair pay. The U.S. Women’s Soccer team are taking a rightful stand and are setting an example for women all over the world to speak out against sexism.
The U.S. Women’s team are Olympic champions as well as Women’s World Cup champions. “The numbers speak for themselves,” goalie Hope Solo said in the interview with Today News. “We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships and the USMNT get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.”
According to The New York Times, the female U.S. players get paid about $3,600 per game, while the male players get paid about $5,000. This does not include the bonus check they get for winning a game, which is about $8,166 for the men and $1,350 for the women.
In 2015, the women’s team earned $2 million for winning the World Cup, while the men lost in 2014 and still made $9 million.
Some may question why the women didn’t speak up sooner, as it is their job to try to negotiate for higher pay. But clearly the U.S. Soccer Federation has known the women have been unhappy for about 20 years.
“I’ve been on this team for a decade and a half,” Solo said. “And I’ve been through numerous CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) negotiations, and honestly, not much has changed. We continue to be told we should be grateful just to have the opportunity to play professional soccer, to get paid for doing it.”
The U.S. Soccer Federation is basically saying this to all women, not just the players: “Be thankful we men are even giving you the chance to play professional sports,” as if men should be allowed to control what women can and cannot do. These strong women are not inferior to the men’s team.
The federation responded to the women’s lawsuit on March 31, and argued that “during the last four years, the men’s revenues have been significantly higher than the women’s national team,” a spokesperson said. “The numbers provided in the complaint at times are inaccurate, misleading or both.”
The federation waving off this issue as a mistake portrays how unnecessary and pointless it believes women’s equality is.
Generally, sexism is within the entire economy of soccer. The women’s team sponsors are usually makers of special products designed for women, such as Tampax. Because the tournaments and games are generalized for an audience of all women, and the fact that they hardly make women’s jerseys in men’s sizes, create way less hype for the women’s team.
The U.S. Soccer Federation is clearly neglecting its best team, which also happens to be the world’s best. The U.S. Women’s team has obviously been grossly underpaid for years, and it is a disgrace that it is asked to put up with this.
Since 1991, the U.S. women’s team has become the most successful women’s soccer team in the world. The women have proven their worth, so it is time for the U.S. Soccer Federation to give them the millions they so tirelessly worked for.