In the US, there is a wage war going on that affects not just women workers in a traditional setting but also, have you noticed what is going on in the world of soccer? While soccer may not be “as big” of a sport as football or even baseball, soccer fans are always loyal. Those loyal fans are standing up and taking notice of something “off” and downright screwed up that is happening; the massive wage gap between the US men’s and US women’s teams. That gap being so large, the women’s soccer team has filed a wage discrimination action against the US Soccer Federation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In their complaint, Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapino and Becky Sauerbrunn cite figures from the USSF’s 2015 financial reports, which show easily that the women’s team brought in more than $20 million dollars more in revenue than the men did. Not to mention these facts:
• On average, women soccer players earn as little as 40% of the amount earned by male soccer players
• The women’s soccer team has claimed three World Cup championships
• The women’s soccer team has claimed four Olympic championships.
• Women’s soccer team is currently ranked #1, was briefly #2 before regaining the top position.
• Men’s team has qualified for the World Cup five times, but has never won.
• Men’s team has gone to the Olympics but has never won.
• Men’s soccer team is currently ranked #30 and hasn’t been above #4 since 2006.
For friendlies against teams not in the FIFA top 25, women get $1,350 for a win, men get $9,375.00. If you make the World Cup roster, women get $15,000.00, men get $68,750.00. The men get bonuses for just getting points in the World Cup and the women get nothing. The women got $75,000.00 a piece for winning the last World Cup. If the men were ever to do the same, they’d get almost $400,000.00 a person.
Putting those statistics and numbers in to perspective, I have to agree with Hope Solo who said, “Men’s players get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.”
US Soccer officials have claimed the numbers used in the EEOC complaint aren’t accurate. In addition, they claim that the collective bargaining agreement is still effective, as well as stating that women have included provisions that the men don’t have, like maternity leave. Whereas, the USWNT has shown through the USSF’s annual general meeting minutes that they are expecting much higher revenue this year, and even higher in 2017. The collective bargaining agreement expired in 2012 at which point both parties signed a memorandum of understanding. The USWNT is now seeking to dissolve that memorandum while USSF says it is in fact a binding contract. The women have put themselves into position at a prime time in soccer history. The Olympics are right around the corner to be followed by a victory tour that could bring in a projected $8 million dollars in revenue, as well as US soccer certainly doesn’t want to be tarnished while preparing for the 2026 World Cup bid.
It should be noted that the men’s soccer team is behind the women’s fight for equal pay 100%. Many players have come forward supporting the women to fight for their right to equal pay. Even the men can see how unfair the women have been treated and they are not afraid to voice their opinions.
Will the women keep fighting? Will they “strike” and boycott right before this summer’s Olympics? Or will they come to an agreement both sides will accept? This will certainly be a case to watch as the sides go back and forth.