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U.S. women are inspiring, how about fair pay

Published: 7/10/2019 4:35:52 PM

The United States women’s national soccer team won the World Cup on Sunday, capping off an exciting and sometimes controversial run to glory with a 2-0 win over the Netherlands. The team, led by purple-haired scoring machine and Golden Boot recipient Megan Rapinoe, made headlines on and off the field throughout the tournament.

The U.S. women came into the tourney having already filed a gender equity pay discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, arguing that despite generating more revenue and earning more substantial victories than the U.S. men’s team, they are paid less.

The performance factor is inarguable. The women won their second straight World Cup, and fourth overall, on Sunday; the men have never placed better than third – and that was in 1930.

The financial aspect is a little trickier. The men certainly earn more money – losing a World Cup qualifier gets a men’s player more bonus money than winning one gives to the women, for instance, and the prize pool for winning the whole thing is tens of millions of dollars in favor of the men’s team. However, the total revenue earned by men’s soccer worldwide is exponentially higher than that of the women’s game; the opposite is true in the United States, but the World Cup is governed by FIFA, an international organization.

But to simply shrug one’s shoulders and say “That’s the way it’s always been” is ignorant at best. After all, FIFA only began holding a women’s World Cup in 1991, while the men’s tournament was first held in 1930.

Something had to change in the name of equality, and the result is nearly two decades of American dominance on the international stage. So why not make a change now to support those inspiring athletes once again?

Perhaps FIFA should pool their international revenue and divide it equally among their men’s and women’s World Cup bonuses. Perhaps the USSF should do that themselves, dividing their own revenues up equally among both their teams. Or perhaps both the U.S. men’s and women’s teams should renegotiate their contracts to be paid solely based on performance. Sure, that would mean the women would get paid a whole lot more than the men – unless they can actually start winning World Cup matches – but wouldn’t that be as fair as it could be?


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