The U.S. women’s national soccer team deserves at minimum equal pay to their male counterparts. There should no argument or equivocation from their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation. Instead, the women, who are indisputably more successful on the pitch and more popular than the U.S. men’s team – who failed to qualify for the last FIFA World Cup – based on television and streaming viewership, continue to have to resolutely fight to gain what should be rightfully theirs.
On March 11, at the ironically named SheBelives Cup in Frisco, Texas, the U.S. women’s team, the reigning World Cup champions who have won back-to-back titles, staged a protest against the U.S Soccer Federation by turning their warm-up jersey’s inside out to conceal the team crest during the playing of the national anthem before the start of their match versus Japan.
The demonstration was in response to court filings presented by the U.S. Soccer Federation countering the U.S. Women’s National Team’s $66 million gender discrimination lawsuit filed in March 2019 against the organization under the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Among the ridiculous assertions put forth by the U.S. Soccer Federation include “biological differences” that they say substantiates the men’s game “requires a higher level of skill” that is “indisputable science.”
A subsequent statement released by the players read: “We wanted to stand together as a team and make a statement on behalf of all women and girls that the federation‘s comments are unacceptable. We love this sport and this country, and we cannot stand for this misogynistic treatment.” The women are paid roughly $100,000 a year but receive far smaller bonuses than the men, tipping the pay scale much more favorably toward the male players.
Megan Rapinoe, winner of the Ballon d’Or in being named the top women’s soccer player of 2019, and a standout for the U.S. women’s team during their World Cup title run last year, expressed after their 3-1 win over Japan in the SheBelieves Cup that the federation’s stance is unsurprising.
“We’ve sort of felt that those are some of the undercurrent feelings that they’ve had for a long time,” Ms Rapinoe said. “But to see that as the argument, as blatant misogyny and sexism as the argument against us, is really disappointing.
“But I just want to say, it’s all false,” Rapinoe maintained. “To every girl out there, to every boy out there, who watches this team, who wants to be on this team, or just wants to live their dream out, you are not lesser just because you’re a girl. You are not better just because you’re a boy.
“We’re all created equal and should all have the equal opportunity to go out and pursue our dreams, and for us that means playing on the soccer field. So, everything that was in that deposition, what they said in the argument is just not true. Don’t ever believe that.”
The widespread backlash caused by the news of the content of the U.S. Soccer Federation’s filings led to the resignation of its president, Carlos Cordeiro, last Thursday.