The United States Women’s National Team won the World Cup on Sunday. It was a game so exciting that both men in my house (Mike and my brother-in-law) made sure it was on to watch. For the record, we have never watched a soccer game in our house before— men or women.
It was awesome to watch the women win; both because they are an incredibly talented team on the field and also because they have become such strong advocates against gender discrimination. It felt like they weren’t just fighting for a title, they were fighting for fair treatment of women and the right to get paid what they deserve.
Over the past few months, the USWNT has shed light on the huge pay disparity between the men and women soccer players in the league. For example, the women’s teams compete for their share of $30 million in prize money from FIFA, in contrast to the Men’s World Cup prize of $400 million in 2018.
In addition to that, according to the Guardian, “the USWNT’s contract guarantees a player will receive $3,000 for each qualification game they win; a $37,500 bonus for qualifying for the World Cup; $37,500 for making the final US World Cup roster; and $110,000 if they win the whole World Cup — a grand total of $200,000 each. In contrast, had the U.S. Men’s National Team qualified for the 2018 FIFA Men’s World Cup, which the team did not, players would have received $108,695 each. Had the team won all of their 16 qualifying games, made the final World Cup roster and won the World Cup, USMNT players would have been paid a total of over $1.1 million each.”
That’s a $730,000 pay gap, which became a huge focus of the Woman’s Team and Sunday’s game, even prompting chants from the stands of “Equal Pay” after they won.
For those arguing that Men’s Soccer generates more money, that is not true, particularly in the case of the US Team. According to the Wall Street Journal, “U.S. Women’s Soccer games have generated more revenue for the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) than U.S. men’s games over the past three years.” And, Mark Parker, Nike’s president and CEO, announced last week that “the USA Women’s Home jersey is now the No. 1 soccer jersey, men’s or women’s, ever sold on Nike.com in one season.”
This is all due to the fact that THESE WOMEN KEEP WINNING. When people are talented and inspiring, they become household names and people want to wear those names on their back. I can name Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan and Christen Press and Rose Lavelle… but I honestly don’t know the name of one U.S. Men’s soccer player.
Back in March, 28 members of USWNT filed a lawsuit against the USSF for gender discrimination and unequal pay. Let’s hope that after their big win this Sunday, everyone comes to the table to discuss. Although, it obviously would have been much more financially beneficial to the players had the talks happened beforehand. Insert huge EYE ROLL here.
My favorite tweet after the World Cup was from none other than Billie Jean King (and retweeted by Serena Williams, mind you.) She said, “Congratulations to the USWNT on their 4th World Cup win! These athletes have brought more attention, support and pride to women’s sport than perhaps any other team in history. It is long past time to pay them what they rightly deserve.”
One team member who has made headlines with her strong stance on everything from equal pay to gay rights to staying the hell away from the White House is Megan Rapinoe. Her self-satisfied stance after scoring a goal quickly became an internet meme. As a result, she has received a lot of criticism for both bringing politics onto the field and for being a bad sport, as if men in sports don’t routinely celebrate their goals by dancing and trash talking???
I may not be a big soccer fan, but I find the entire USWNT’s attitude inspiring. I think we all should take a cue from Megan Rapinoe and celebrate our wins! Even if our wins are way smaller than winning the World Cup.
Congratulations to the USWNT!!!! What would you like to pat yourself on the back for today?
I posted these memes on @averageparentproblems. Go follow me over there!