Wages Gap US National Soccer Teams

illustration: Madalyn Drewno • CU Denver Sentry


The United States women’s national soccer team is nearing their one-year anniversary of winning the World Cup Soccer Championship. After exhibiting immense athleticism and nationalism for the US and inspiring women around the world, a fair payment for each player would be expected. In recent weeks, players for the US National Team are speaking out in favor of fair pay, women’s rights, and world acknowledgement.

The team played Japan in June 2015 for the world championship, which made for their third FIFA title in history. According to ESPN.com, the women currently are paid nearly 60 percent less than what their male counterparts make. Because of this, in late March 2016, four US Women’s players filed a wage discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

illustration: Madalyn Drewno • CU Denver Sentry
illustration: Madalyn Drewno • CU Denver Sentry

The report alleges that if the male team had won a world championship, their bonus would be $390,000 paid out individually to each player, whereas the women were each paid a $75,000 bonus for their world cup title. The women are also subjected to a wage ceiling of $37,000 per league, whereas men’s salaries are capped at $300,000 per player, as seen on NBC.com.

After looking at the numbers and the visible wage gap, it’s hard to know what’s going on. It is a ridiculous difference based completely on gender. Many people argue that wage gaps don’t exist— here is the proof. Wage gaps not only exist, but they can be found even in high-profile stages, where all of America can see how one gender is held below another.

The argument against addressing the wage gap is fueled by three reasons: lack of experience due to time off because of motherhood, difference in careers and majors, and the lack of aggressiveness in women to ask for better pay. However, none of these are justifications for women to walk away with less. The US national team should be commended for recognizing this in their own lives.

The women on the US team won a world championship title, bringing international attention to the US soccer efforts: None of this, including an international title, are small deeds. In 2014, the US Men’s team finished ninth internationally at the FIFA World Cup and collected a $9 million payout.

These women brought attention and pride to a sport that most Americans don’t typically pay attention to. The world cup championship game was the most-watched soccer match in US history, with over 23 million viewers, according to the Huffington Post.

There is no question that these women have out-shined the men in the realm of soccer and being an international key player. There is no reasonable explanation that someone can provide that would explain the women’s wage gap. Nothing justifies the extreme difference in pay between men and women in the same profession. As a leading country in human rights and justice, the US needs to step up and fix these issues, and follow suit of the US Women’s national team.

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