It’s no secret that the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team has an incredible record over the last 20 years. They have placed in the World Cup seven times, with the most recent being their 2015 victory as the overall champions. The national team has also won every Olympics tournament since 1996, with four gold medals and one silver medal. Historically, the US soccer ladies are amazing on the field.
Yet the level of inequality between the men’s and women’s national soccer teams is astounding. Elle outlines in detail the many ways in which US Soccer benefits the men’s team more than the women’s:
- Team expenses – The US Men’s National Soccer team had expenses totaling over $31.1 million in 2015, while the women’s team cost just over $10.3 million
- Coach’s salary – The head coach for the men’s team made $3.2 million in the last year, while the head coach for the women’s team made $180,000 (which was apparently raised to $250,000 but is still nowhere near the other coach’s figures)
- Travel – The men’s team flies business class and stays in far more luxurious hotels than the women’s team, who fly coach.
- Game conditions – When the men’s team is expected to compete on artificial turf, natural grass is laid out just for the match. But the women’s team played most of their World Cup 2015 victory tour on the artificial grass, which can be far more painful for injuries.
What’s worse is that the U.S. Men’s National Soccer team, while talented players themselves, have never won a World Cup. The women are the champions of the World Cup, yet are treated unfairly in many aspects. One of the US Women’s team players, goalie Hope Solo, commented that while these inequalities seem small, they’re most definitely not. “[T]hey add up,” she explained to Elle. “When the men have those resources at their disposal, it presents us as a second-rate team.” Judging by their several victories in the last 20 years, the US Women’s National Soccer team is far from second-rate.
Then there’s the pay gap. It’s an indisputable fact that the US Women’s Soccer team is paid considerably less than the men’s team. Although the process is dense and complicated, the women’s team has had enough. In March, five of the team’s players (Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Rebecca Sauerbrunn, Hope Solo) filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, arguing that they have been systematically discriminated against by US Soccer, as they are not paid equally to their male counterparts. The complaint describes how the US women’s team’s compensation “pales in comparison to that of the [Men’s National Team] players given that the women and the men perform the same job duties; have jobs that require equal skill, effort and responsibilities; and perform our jobs under similar working conditions.”
Below are some of the finances currently in dispute:
The EEOC is currently investigating the claims. Should they find US Soccer guilty of breaking the law, the organization will have to either settle and enact equal pay or suffer administrative action. The players filing the complaint are over being treated differently from the men. “It’s not enough to just say it’s going to get better,” midfielder Megan Rapinoe explained. “The people at the top obviously enjoy the status quo. Sometimes you have to use the law to topple that.”