US Soccer Federation under fire over pay gap

The U.S Women’s National Soccer team sues the soccer federation after gender discrimination.

By Kimberly Linares, Staff Writer

Credit: U.S.W.N.T. Players Association

Before they defend their title at the upcoming World Cup, all 28 players on the United States Women’s National Soccer Team will be taking a stand for an ongoing issue involving unequal pay and gender-based discrimination.

On International Women’s Day, a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) was filed by the U.S Women’s National Soccer Team in a California court room. This was done under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and they are seeking class-action over “institutionalized gender discrimination” toward the team.

The players strive for equitable pay and treatment, in addition to damages including pay back. Among the complaints made of wages, the lawsuit notes issues of where and how often the women’s team played, how they train, medical treatment and coaching.

The class-action request would allow any player on the team since February 2015 to join the case. A total of 41 complaints were included in the 25-page filing. The USWNT is taking action at the correct time; being able to defend what is not only correct but ethical establishes the simple fact that gender discrimination should not be an issue occurring within society, or sports, specifically.

“Despite the fact that these female and male players are called upon to perform the same job responsibilities on their teams and participate in international competitions for their single common employer, the USSF, the female players have been consistently paid less money than their male counterparts,” the suit says.

According to the lawsuit, from 2013 to 2016, a comparison of the WNT and the MNT shows that if each team played 20 friendlies in a year and each of those games is won, female WNT players would earn a maximum of $99,000 or $4,590 per game. Meanwhile, male MNT players would earn an average of $263,320 or $13,166 per game.

“This is true even though their performance has been superior to that of the male players with the female players, in contrast to male players, becoming world champions,” also stated the suit.

Women should not have to fight for rights that they are entitled to. It is only fair that the same job performed by both genders get paid the same. Men should not have better treatment when women are demonstrating their skills on the field.

Taking into consideration the WNT performance, they have won three World Cup titles, the most recent being in 2015. The WNT is ranked number one among other women’s soccer teams throughout the world, as opposed to the MNT that didn’t even qualify for the men’s 2018 World Cup. Shouldn’t this be enough to automatically pay the WNT more than the MNT? If women are generating more money for the soccer federation, why doesn’t their income resemble that?

This has not been the first time that the USWNT has taken legal action against the federation over a gender pay gap.

In 2016, a group of five players, filed a wage discrimination lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, stating that in 2015, their wages were four times less than those of the men’s soccer team.

This time the lawsuit will actually be remembered because of the day in which it was filed.

“Each of us is extremely proud to wear the United States jersey, and we also take seriously the responsibility that comes with that. We believe that fighting for gender equality in sports is a part of that responsibility,” said Alex Morgan, the forward of the team.