If it was just based on numbers, it would be staggeringly in favor of the USWNT. Their success on the field has far outpaced their male counterparts yet they are paid as little as 38% less than the men, which is why in march 2019 They filed a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination by the US Soccer federation.
Fresh off winning another world cup to add to their runaway success, their argument sure holds a lot of water and they have the moral high ground.
Here are the facts.
- They have won four Women’s World Cup titles
- Four Olympic gold medals.
- Eight CONCACAF Gold Cups, and
- The gold medal at the 1999 Pan American Games.
- The USWNT reportedly received $2 million for winning the World Cup in 2015, while Germany’s men’s team got $35 million for winning the 2014 World Cup.
- The USWNT brought in $20 million more than the men’s team in 2015’s USSF financial report.
Here are some details from the lawsuit:
- The women are paid less than the men despite performing similar job duties for the same employer and outperforming the men — at times earning more profit for the federation, playing more games, winning more games, winning more championships and garnering higher television ratings. To support that claim, the lawsuit cites the women’s (then) three World Cup titles, four Olympic gold medals, No. 1 rank in the world for 10 of the 11 last years and the 2015 World Cup title game being the most-watched soccer game in American TV history at the time.
- The women actually spend more time in training camps and playing games than the men because of this success. From 2015-18, the women played 19 more matches than the men.
- In addition to unequal pay, the lawsuit says the federation provides unequal playing, training and travel conditions, and unequal promotion for games.
Examples cited: From 2014-17, the women played 21 percent of their domestic matches on artificial turf compared to two percent for the men. In 2017, the USSF chartered at least 17 flights for the men and none for the women. Lower ticket prices and less promotion of women’s matches led to “USSF-manufactured revenue depression.”
- When the USWNT players association negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement, which took effect Jan. 1, 2017, and runs through 2021, the USSF rejected requests for equal compensation and also turned down a proposed “revenue-sharing model” that would test the federation’s claim that “market realities” do not justify equal pay for women. “Under this model, player compensation would increase in years in which the USSF derived more revenue from WNT activities and player compensation would be less if revenue from those activities decreased. This showed the players’ willingness to share in the risk and reward of the economic success of the WNT,” the lawsuit says.
According to the lawsuit, in general, a top women’s player could earn as little as 38 percent of what a star men’s player with a gap of $164,320.
The women break down inequalities in the suit saying that if they won 20 non-tournament games in a year the top players would earn a maximum of $99,000 while a men’s star doing the same thing would earn an average of $263,320.
A 2017 collective bargaining agreement with US Soccer in 2017 started closed the pay gap for non-tournament play making it so the women would earn $28,333 less for non-tournament games, but the women say there are still a lot of improvements to be made on the equality front which is why they brought the current lawsuit.
The USWNT ODDS of winning this lawsuit.
As a result of bringing their equal pay lawsuit in 2016, the new collective bargaining agreement in 2017 included pay raises for the USWNT and that agreement runs till 2021.
In June 2019 The Wall Street Journal reported that the women and the federation have agreed to mediation in the suit so we are holding our fingers that they get the wages that they deserve.