By Daniel Fonseca
“U.S.W.N.T sues American Soccer Federation”
Throughout the passing of time mankind has surpassed previous limitations found its way through evolution by exceeding in the fields of commerce, social stratification, globalization and the rise of technology. However, one constant has always been a step behind in advancing accordingly: women specifically, gender equality, which has been perennially set on the back burner when it comes to social advancements. These inequalities have translated onto every facet of female life in America including sports.
Recently, the US women’s national soccer team had a number of key players (5) (Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Alex Morgan and midfielder Megan Rapinoe) sue the U.S Soccer governing. It is known that the American soccer federation pays both men and women for international matches, historically the women’s team has been dominate in staking their claim as the most successful women’s international team by winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015, becoming the most successful team in that competition with three total World Cup wins. Comparatively however, the men’s tem has been underperforming having never won a FIFA World Cup and are generally seen as mediocre compared to their female counterparts. The case was submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission because the five players aforementioned cited US soccer in wage discrimination while on international duty, stating that “they earned as little as 40 percent of what players on the United States men’s national team earned even as they marched to the team’s third world championship last year.”(NY Times) This disparity in wage is a testament to the wage gap reflected in the American workplace today where women earn on average 79 cents to the dollar of what a male would earn at the same position. Thus, US soccer’s wage disparity infringes on the 2004 “Americans for a fair Chance” Bill which “provides qualified individuals (both men and women) with equal access to opportunities. Equal opportunity programs, equal payment opportunity along with recruitment, outreach, and training initiatives, which have played a critical role in providing women with access to educational and professional opportunities they would otherwise have been denied despite their strong qualifications.” Clearly, US women’s soccer has the strong qualifications to be paid equally as the men given their illustrious reputation as one of soccer top contenders, however the wage gap still persist in sports and American society. Economists have found that ultimately the wage gap hinders the American economy because pay discrimination for women equates to low wages, resulting in a lowered average income due to the income inequality. In addition the gender gap harms the US economy by hindering over half of its working population from earning a salary given to the other half of the population. This undeniable harm hurts all of us in the long run and this is exactly what US women’s soccer is addressing. The wage gap it is largely a debate that is advocated by pro women empowerment feminist institutions, which appeal as radical and uncomfortable to the patriarchal American social fabric. However, team USA sheds the light on the issue by voicing a problem through powerful female figures that are respected by both male and females, the US women’s team.
Hope Solo, one of the team’s captains and one of the five players to call out the US soccer federation was quoted saying that “The numbers speak fir themselves, we are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships, and the U.S.M.N.T gets paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships” .(NY Times Paragraph 4). The response by the US soccer representatives was stating that the U.S.M.N.T produced higher revenues, through attendance that was twice that of the women’s team. In addition to television ratings, “were “a multiple” of what the women attract, according to Sunil Gulati, the U.S. Soccer president. A federation spokesman, Neil Buethe, called some of the revenue figures in the players’ complaint “inaccurate, misleading or both.” For example, women earn $30,000 each for making the World Cup team compared to $68,750 of the U.S.N.T in addition the U.S.W.N.T earns a maximum of $99,000 compared to the $263,320 collected by the men’s. (NY Daily paragraph 5). The biggest example of income discrimination come from the women only earning 2 million from their world cup trophy money compensation while the men collected 9 million after having a disappointing World Cup campaign going 1-2-1 the year before in Brazil 2014.
Finally, this issue highlights a major social flaw in the American socioeconomic atmosphere. There can be no doubt that women need to be empowered for the promotion of mankind as a whole. However, there is also no denying the plurality that feminism advocacy by the US women national team has in positively affecting the lives of women both sports and the workforce. This can be seen by increase in work place opportunities which allows the fortification and competitiveness of the workplace, boost in the economy which helps improve the lives of both men and women, and finally a loosening of the gender roles and gender discrimination which in effect allows fluidity between both men and women to take upon alternating roles at both the home and workplace.