EDITORIAL: U.S. Soccer’s unequal playing field
Women’s national team files lawsuit for wage discrimination
On average women only earn 74 cents to a man’s dollar, but, with the caveat that they achieved the same exact feat, a woman in the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) would earn 37 cents to a man in the U.S. Men’s National Team's (USMNT) dollar.
These glaring disparities are difficult to ignore. According to the Huffington Post, if the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) wins all of the 20 annual scheduled friendlies, which are glorified practices games, they’ll be paid 37 percent of what the U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) would if they did the same. Each woman would earn $99,000 each if they won 20 friendlies, but men would earn $264,320 for the same accomplishment — and they would also get a $100,000 bonus, even if they lose all the games. So to put it into perspective, women in the USWNT are paid less for going on a winning streak than the men who show just show up and lose.
In a capitalist society that elevates the significance of money and profit, the extent in which female athletes are appreciated manifests in how much they’re being paid, and apparently the pay they’ve received is scant. Five members of the United States women’s soccer team, including Rutgers alumna Carli Lloyd, have filed a wage discrimination suit against the U.S. Soccer Federation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Their claims have been met with skepticism.
Many say that women have come a long way, and the difference today between a man’s pay and a woman’s pay is basically imperceptible, and the clamor for equal pay is just white noise in the background with paranoid feminists arguing for a non-issue.
Notable arguments drawn vehemently against women’s susceptibility to wage discrimination is that they are more likely to take time off from work because of familial obligations, and that women are more likely to be in positions like secretarial work or waitressing that pay less. However, the suit against the U.S. Soccer Federation demonstrates an instance that controls for factors like women are taking off from work, because the statistics are based on the games played and equal attendance and men and women being in different professions, because they’re in the exact same profession.
Although the USWNT is undoubtedly superior to their male counter parts — the USMNT are at No. 30 in the latest FIFA rankings and are on a three-year streak of not winning a major trophy, while the USWNT won the 2015 World Cup — they demonstrate that women will still not be paid the same.
Defenders of the status quo believe that the women’s team doesn’t generate the same revenue, so naturally they won’t be paid the same. But contrary to this notion, more people have been coming to USWNT’s games and buying their tickets, and the gap between projected revenue is at $2 million. The USMNT’s revenue is $21 million and USWNT’s revenue is $23 million.
The litany of examples that describe unfair treatment and unfair salaries goes on. Men get bonuses for wins, ties and losses, while women only get bonuses for wins. Giving someone a bonus for losing is already ridiculous in and of itself. And as opposed to men who played on real grass, women who participated in the World Cup had to play on turf that caused brutal cuts, scabs and scrapes.
It’s a difficult life for women soccer players, especially for professional soccer players who play in a club team — they earn so little that they’re below the poverty line. The minimum salary within the National Women’s Soccer League is $6,842 and the Federal poverty line is $11,770.
The lack of equal pay, or even better pay (since the USWNT is far better than the USMNT) shows a lack of respect for female athletes.
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