All the Stars Calling Out the Soccer Wage Gap After Americans’ World Cup Victory
The 2019 women's World Cup winners took home $4 million, while the 2018 men’s World Cup winners scored $38 million
The U.S. Women’s National Team secured their latest World Cup victory with a 2-0 win over the Netherlands Sunday, prompting increased attention on the players’ battle for equal pay.
Famous athletes from Serena Williams to Aaron Rodgers made calls for the women, who are currently embroiled in a lawsuit with the United States Soccer Federation over alleged gender discrimination, to take in either the same amount of money as or more money than their male counterparts.
Williams retweeted a message from Billie Jean King, who wrote, “These athletes have brought more attention, support, & pride to women’s sport than perhaps any other team in history. It is long past time to pay them what they rightly deserve.”
Williams congratulated the team, then noted that “Billie says it best here!”
Green Bay Packers quarterback Rodgers also chimed in, celebrating the team’s win but adding the hashtag “Equal Pay” to his tweet.
Director Ava DuVernay had a similar message, noting that the team has performed incredibly well and deserves to be recognized for their achievements.
“Equal pay for exceptionally supreme work is the least these athletes deserve. Anything less is a shame and travesty to their sport,” she wrote. “With that said, these women have the attention of the world. All eyes on them and their glorious victory! Yas! They. Did. That!”
Elizabeth Banks offered the same sentiment, simply writing, “Equal Pay. It’s time.”
Saturday Night Live comedian Leslie Jones was more aggressive in her approach, as she recorded a video of a broadcaster declaring that women on the U.S. national team were expected not only to go to the World Cup, but to win “each and every time.”
“But yet they are not paid as much as the men’s team. They are expected to be champions but not expected to be paid as champions,” Jones said in the video. “So while you’re making your f—ing speech you motherf—, why don’t you throw that in there, that they’re not getting paid what they deserve to get f— paid for bringing U.S.A. what the f— they bring them.”
Actress Regina King deemed the win “bittersweet,” as the women are “consistently bringing home the win but not the check.”
Twenty-eight players on the USWNT team filed a class action lawsuit in March against their employer, accusing the USSF of workplace discrimination because of their gender, according to the New York Times.
The Washington Post reports that the women claimed they were paid less than the men’s national team, and also received less support from the USSF despite the fact that they played consistently well.
The suit also argued that “during the period relevant to this case, the WNT earned more in profit and/or revenue than the MNT.”
In a court filing in May, the USSF responded and denied the women’s claims, saying that pay is “based on differences in aggregate revenue generated by the different teams and/or any other factor other than sex.”
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According to the Post, women’s games pulled in about $900,000 more in revenue than men’s games from 2016-18, and $1.9 million in the year after the women won the World Cup in 2015.
The equal pay argument also extends outside the USSF and into the World Cup, which is run by FIFA.
The Post reports that the 2019 women’s World Cup winners took home $4 million, while the 2018 men’s World Cup winners scored $38 million.
The discrepancy prompted a chant of “Equal pay!” within the Stade de Lyon on Sunday, according to the Times.
“I think everyone is ready for this conversation to move to the next step,” star Megan Rapinoe said in a post-game press conference.”Let’s get to the point of what’s next, how do we support women’s federation and women’s programs around the world? What can FIFA do to do that, what can we do to support the leagues around the world?”