On March 31, five members of the United States National Soccer Team sued the U.S. Soccer Federation and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for wage discrimination.
For those not tuned into the international sports favorite, the U.S. team won the 2015 World Cup hosted in Canada, which wasn’t their only win.
In total, they’ve won the World Cup, a competition of over 20 countries, three times and have won the Olympics four times, including in 2008 and 2012.
So, with the success of the team and the popularity it has brought on, why are they only getting paid 25 percent of what the Men’s National Soccer Team gets paid?
Let’s take out anatomy for a second and completely forget the gender differences here. Who deserves to get paid more, a team that has seven world titles under their belt in the past 20 years or a team that can’t even get out of their bracket? The Men’s National Soccer Team didn’t even get out of their bracket in the 2014 tournament.
My only defense for the men’s team is they’ve been playing longer, historically and presently in their current leagues. But, wouldn’t that in turn qualify them to win?
Now, I’m not by any means saying they should get played less. This is a professional sport after all, a job and a lifestyle and they should be paid for their hard work, but so should women.
I’ll break down this discrimination even further. Both the men and women play for an individual club and are chosen for the national team come qualifiers. Men play in stadiums, on real grass, yet women play on turf, like football players.
Anyone who hasn’t played soccer should know this isn’t ideal, as it’s fake and can change the dynamic of a practice and therefore a game. While each gender has to play a minimum of 20 games per year, the men will get paid $5,000 no matter if they win or lose. The women? Nothing.
I’m a huge fan of soccer, both U.S. soccer and premier leagues across the world. I’m also a woman, and this is just another frustration I have with the glass ceiling.
Plain and simple, if I do the same job as a man, just as well (if not better in this case), I should be paid the same.
My frustration is this is still a problem in modern society. The sexist argument is a woman needs to take time off to raise children and such, so that’s why we’re paid less.
What about men taking time off to go to a doctor’s appointment, or paternal leave? The fact of the matter is, there isn’t anything substantial to discriminate against women in pay other than their anatomical parts, and that personally makes me sick that this is an issue in 2016.
Going back to the professional athletes however, we must also look at the what each team is bringing in.
In 2015, after their historical domination in the World Cup final, the women’s team made an estimated $20 million in revenue. For 2017 they are estimated to bring in $17 million. The men are only estimated at just over half $9 million.
If we expect to be paid for all the hard work and success we bring to an organization, we should expect no signs of discrimination. Especially something as atrocious as gender.