On Sunday, July 15th the USA Women’s Soccer team won their 4th World Cup. On that same day the USA Men’s team failed to win a regional championship against Mexico in Chicago. Yet, although the juxtaposition is clear, the women’s team still faces discrimination over pay. Throughout the game fans could be heard chanting, “Equal Pay!”. It’s more complicated than it may seem, lets break it down.
On March 8th, the 28 team members filed a class action claim against their employer, the United States Soccer Federation. The lawsuit follows years of claims by players that USSF pays the men’s team players more than the women’s team players, in direct violation of the U.S. Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The federation claims that this is not true because the factor of revenue the team makes comes into play. It’s also important to consider that brand deals and other advertisements would not be a part of this.
The team’s collective bargaining agreement, which includes players’ salaries and working conditions, does not expire until 2021. This means the federation will not be making any significant changes anytime soon, but many remain hopeful. U.S. Soccer agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement with its women’s players two years ago that included higher salaries, richer bonuses and improved working conditions, although still not equal to the men’s team. And other countries have followed that lead: the Netherlands has set a goal of pay equity for its men’s and women’s teams by 2023.
The team celebrated their victory in New York City. Rapinoe spoke, with an overwhelming positive tone, even towards the federation. Watch the video below: