U.S. Senators Weigh in on World Cup Equal Pay Dispute
The United States Women’s National Soccer Team filed a gender discrimination suit against the United States Soccer Federation this year on International Women’s day. The alleged discrimination is “reflected in differences in pay, medical care, travel arrangements and overall workload for the men’s and women’s teams,” NBC News reports.
The USSF believes that the statements made by the Women’s Team are inaccurate, as pay for these athletes boils down to more than just salary. According to the Washington Post, revenue for the USSF comes from two major categories, sponsorships and gameday profit. Over the past year, the U.S. Women’s Team has surpassed the Men’s Team in game revenue, and though we know that the USSF has had an increase in revenue from sponsorships in 2018, there is no way of knowing if that can be directly attributed to the success of the Women’s Team. The USSF does not reveal which team or which players make the most in sponsorships, or how that revenue is allocated.
This secrecy makes the issue all the more complicated. Additionally, the teams aren’t paid in the same way. The Women’s Team has a base salary and the Men’s Team does not, and each team makes a certain dollar amount in bonuses depending on the outcome of their games and how many games they play. There’s more to the problem than just salaries and bonuses, such as “branding, promotions [and] sponsorships” for individual players and teams says Megan Rapinoe, star Forward on the U.S. Women’s Team.
This year’s World Cup happens to align with the U.S. Presidential Primary, so plenty of politicians are weighing in on their social media. West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin, who is not a Presidential candidate, went as far as to announce a bill to withhold federal dollars for the men’s World Cup unless pay equity is reached between the teams. “They are the best in the world,” Manchin stated, “and deserve to be paid accordingly.”
See other statements from U.S. legislators below.
The @USWNT is #1 in the world & contributes higher revenues for @USSoccer than the men’s team, but they’re still paid a fraction of what the men earn. Women deserve equal pay for equal (or better!) work in offices, factories, AND on the soccer field. https://t.co/ftOSrjRyOE
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) June 11, 2019
Here’s an idea: If you win 13-0—the most goals for a single game in World Cup history—you should be paid at least equally to the men’s team.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) June 11, 2019
As the U.S. Women’s National Team takes the field against Thailand today, the players are also fighting to be paid equally. Let’s not forget the fight off the field. It’s time we pay our USWNT equally. https://t.co/KHqBcFB9RW
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 11, 2019
Zoie Konneker is a student of Media & Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Technique newspaper, an ambitious social justice activist and a member of the AllWrite Publishing intern team for the summer of 2019.