The story of the US women’s soccer team vs. the gender pay gap

In 2019, the US women’s soccer team sued the union for wages equal to men’s. Then he won the World Cup for the fourth time.

while Italy ai European 2020 He sneaked around trying to figure out whether to kneel against racism before matches started – a symbolic gesture born in United States of America To show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and against inequality – on the other side of the ocean, something is really moving. From New York to Los Angeles, the US women’s soccer team’s struggle against the gender pay gap, and the wage gap between men and women, has been going on for two years now. Obtaining at least the same salary and contractual terms For those who enjoy their male colleagues.

In fact, soccer in the United States is a game for girls: the women’s team as well Much more popular Compared to mentioning, won Four World Cups – Including the last two tournaments played in 2015 and 2019 – e Four Olympic golds. The men’s team, at the moment, only boasts a bronze medal at the World Championships, which it won in 1930.

Football players decided Don’t be silent anymore: In 2019, a few months before the start of the World Cup in France that would have crowned them champions for the fourth time, they sued their employer – no American Football Association – To denounce the second level of treatment he was subjected to compared to the men’s team.

Thanks to the success of the US team at the 2019 World Championships in France, he then led the team within a few months Megan Rapinoe – Today led Becky Soerbrunn – Become a global icon for fighting forgender equality, which was also celebrated by the documentary LFG – Let’s go fucking Directed by Andrea Nix Fine and her husband, Sean Fine, they were released last June 24 in the US (on Hbo, but not yet available in Italy). The title reminds us of the team’s unofficial logo. The film follows six players from the beginning of the case until the first defeat, with the judge’s decision to reject the request for compensation.

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US national football team
Former captain Megan Rapinoe after winning the 2019 World Cup © Maja Hitij / Getty Images

a little history

In March 2019, the women’s national soccer team headed by Megan Rapinoe lawsuit To the American Football Association, led at the time Carlos Cordero, to distinguish between the sexes. According to the players, in fact, the The male team earns more Although achieving modest results and generating less profit than women. Players also have access to much better hotels and transportation than those for the women’s team.

I’m a fact-checker del Washington Post Based on PolitiFact They assessed the situation in terms of numbers and budgets. Between 2016 and 2018 – the years between women’s World Cup victories in 2015 and 2019 – the Rapinoe team generated revenue for $50.8 million (about 42.9 million euros), for i 49.9 million men: So the women brought about $900,000 into the union coffers.

The prizes offered by global competitions are also very unbalanced: $38 million for the male world champion, and $4 million for the championship. However, these numbers were created by FIFATherefore, the American Federation has no decision-making authority in this matter.

US national football team
The team celebrates outside New York City Hall in 2019 © Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

The crux of the matter is in Contracts offered and signed by both parties: In fact, the man was hired with a model pay to playPlayers are only paid when they actually enter the field, with a generous reward system that takes into account the type of game being played and the reference league.

Instead, starting in 2017, women signed up to contact a different structure that ensured a basic salary $100,000 annually plus attendance bonuses and any advertising revenue. Even with this system, the Washington Post calculated that by playing a hypothetical set of 20 friendlies, and winning them all, the women’s team would still earn about 10 percent less from the male.

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This is where the women’s team and federation versions take different paths: according to the former, the players were never offered the possibility of getting the same contract as the men, while the federation asserts that the proposal was made, but players rejected it in favor of lower but guaranteed salaries. No matter how many matches have been played.

US national football team
Team cheer in Lyon, France © Richard Heathcote / Getty Images

$66 million missing from appeal

With the lawsuit filed in March 2019, the players asked the federation to receive it compensation More than 66 million dollars, because of the discrimination he was subjected to. In May 2020, however, a federal judge declared illegal The request, claiming that the women were already offered the same payment system as the men’s team, but they refused.

Instead, the judge accepted the complaint regarding unfair conditions regarding the accommodation or transportation available to the two teams, and last April أبريل Agreement reached تم Which gives women the same guaranteed resources as the men’s team.

However, the players did not give up and they resume To request a review of the payment decision as well.

Mathematical case can serve as an example

In 2019, the captain was then Megan Rapinoe, admittedly gay, having been chosen among the women of the year of Glamor magazine, and she toured talk shows, news, and entertainment programs with her teammates to raise awareness of the tangible consequences of doing so. The gender pay gapIt is a problem that does not concern the world of sports only.

pay equality
Former national team captain Megan Rapinoe visited the White House last March © Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

In the European Union, it is estimated that women’s hourly wages are below average 14.1 percent Compared to their male colleagues (2019 data), even if the situation in Italy looks encouraging with the gap narrowing by less than 5 per cent. But the difference is in the United States 16 percent: To get the same salary, a woman must Work 42 more days from a man.

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Maggie Benson

"Bacon trailblazer. Certified coffee maven. Zombie lover. Tv specialist. Freelance communicator."

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