The wage gap between men and women in the workforce has been debated for years. Now the issue has reached the sport of soccer. It was announced today that five members of the United States Women’s national squad have filed a complaint against the U.S. Soccer Federation accusing it of pay discrimination.
The players involved include goalkeeper Hope Solo, Captain Carli Lloyd, midfielder Megan Rapinoe, defender Becky Sauerbrunn and striker Alex Morgan. The group lodged the grievance on behalf of the entire team.
What makes this situation particularly interesting is the fact that the women’s national team has outperformed the U.S. men’s squad for years. The U.S. women are the defending World Cup Champions after winning the tournament for the third time last summer. They will also head to Rio this summer as the reigning Olympic champions.
In addition, the 2015 Women’s World Cup final between the United States and Japan attracted more than 26 million viewers. It became the most watched U.S. soccer game of all time leaving the men’s national team viewership in the rear.
The men’s team had a good run at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with Tim Howard becoming a national hero with his goalkeeping exploits. Despite that, the men’s team didn’t make it past the round of 16.
Currently members of the women’s team each receive a $75,000 bonus for winning the World Cup. While the men’s team have never won the tournament, each member would earn close to $400,000 in bonus money.
In just looking at the numbers it’s pretty obvious that the women’s national team has a good case.
Solo said it best, “The numbers speak for themselves. We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships, and the USMNT get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.”
Time will tell how this lawsuit is handled, but in the meantime the women’s national team is getting ready to defend their Olympic gold this summer in Brazil.