Five players from the United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNST) have filed a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) about the wage discrimination that they are currently facing in comparison to the United States Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNST). The women claim that due to their successful seasons and multiple World Cup wins that they deserve to be paid the same amount as the statistically less successful USMNST. Among this group of five is Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Rebecca Sauerbrunn, Hope Solo, and Alex Morgan.
According to Jeffrey Kessler, the lawyer handling the USWNST’s complaint, the women not only get less bonuses and appearance fees from the US Soccer Federation than the men, but some female players only receive 40% of what the men make despite their success on the field. The justification for this discrimination in the past has been that the women do not have as large an audience as the men’s team. However, television ratings and spectator numbers prove otherwise.
The New York Times goes into more depth on the specific wage comparison break down between the two teams. They state that a player for the men’s team receives up to a $17,625 bonus for a winning game against a strong opponent, while a player from the women’s team receives $1,350 for a game with the same conditions. Men gain a $5,000 bonus for a loss in a noncompetitive game while women get no bonus in result of a loss or a tie. The women from the USWNST filing the complaint believe that they have proved their worth and should be treated to not only equal pay but also equal treatment.
While their main focus at the moment is the wage discrimination, this is not the first time the USWNST has brought attention to unequal treatment from the US Soccer Federation. When the team traveled to Honolulu as a part of their victory tour, they were met with what they deemed as unsafe field conditions. As a result the team boycotted the game in order to avoid injuries. The US Soccer Federation responded by admitting that they had not checked the field, only to be questioned upon further research. However, they still claim that they had no knowledge or impact on the field’s conditions, placing the blame upon the stadium.
The US Soccer Federation has not said much on the topic, except that they are disappointed that the women are taking this action, and claiming that they have done a lot for women’s soccer in the US. The women filing the complaint argue that they have the same skillset and are doing the same things as the men and should therefore receive the same pay.