On Sunday, the US Women’s Soccer National Team (USWSNT) won the 2019 World Cup beating the Netherlands. The World Cup is held every four years where national soccer teams compete for the championship. 24 teams from across the world compete in the finals and the US women’s team now have their fourth win. Which, is now a FIFA record for most titles since the Women’s World Cup was founded in 1991.
In comparison, the US men’s soccer team has yet to win a World Cup championship. On the same day the women’s team won their championship match, the men’s team lost in the Gold Cup final to Mexico. The men’s team also failed to qualify for the 2018 finals, which left them out of the $400 million prize money bucket.
Unfortunately, even with all the success of the US women’s team, their win is shadowed by the pay disparity conversation.
As the team accepted their trophy, the World Cup crowd broke out into chants of “equal pay, equal pay!”. The winners and finalists of the FIFA’s Women’s World Cup will split a $30 million prize money bucket. The winning team will take home $4 million. Which is a fraction of the $38 million that the winners of the FIFA’s Men’s World Cup in 2018. That’s worse than the $.80 on the dollar gender pay disparity in the American workplace.
In March, the team filed a lawsuit against US Soccer Federation for gender discrimination. Twenty-eight members of the team are apart of the suit that argues the US soccer federation is paying them less for equal work. The hope is for it to become a class-action lawsuit that includes women who have previously played for the national team. Since the claim argues that gender discrimination is institutionalized and has been perpetuated in the federation for years.
The US Soccer Federation doesn’t control the prize money from the World Cup.
But it still has the authority over the annual pay and other revenue sources. For example, the amount of money generated from licenses with networks or apparel companies. Or, the amount paid in bonuses for winning. Unfortunately, it will not be an easy fight to get equal pay. The team does have a collective bargaining agreement, which doesn’t end until 2021.
But, the Women’s US Soccer team continues to be a bigger revenue driver than the men’s team. Especially as more people tuned into the Women’s World Cup final than the 2018 men’s final. If the argument is that pay is based on revenue generation, hopefully, the pay gap can soon disappear.
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