All 28 Players on the Women's National Team Sue U.S. Soccer Federation for Equal Pay
The class-action lawsuit filed Friday in Los Angeles alleges gender-based discrimination by the U.S. Soccer Federation
Before they defend their title at the upcoming World Cup, all 28 players on the United States women’s national soccer team will be taking a stand for equal pay.
In the lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles federal court under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, all 28 female players claim that they are not paid equally to the men’s national players.
They also allege they have experienced “institutionalized gender discrimination,” despite having the same job responsibilities.
The U.S. Soccer Federation did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
This is not the first time that the women have taken a stand for equal pay. In 2016, a group of players including Morgan, Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and former goalkeeper Hope Solo, filed a federal labor complaint against U.S. Soccer, claiming they’re paid just 40 percent as much as the men’s team players — despite generating tens of millions more in revenue.
In a statement issued to Time, Morgan, a forward for the soccer team, said taking a stand on gender equality came with the territory of being a professional female athlete.
“Each of us is extremely proud to wear the United States jersey, and we also take seriously the responsibility that comes with that. We believe that fighting for gender equality in sports is a part of that responsibility,” she said. “As players, we deserved to be paid equally for our work, regardless of our gender.”
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Meanwhile, the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association — which was not part of the lawsuit — said they “supported the plaintiffs’ goal of eliminating gender-based discrimination by USSF,” according to Time.
After negotiating contracts, the women settled on a four-year agreement in 2017. They also were given raises in base pay and bonuses, as well as better travel and accommodation services, Time reported.
The women’s national team last won the World Cup in 2015. They are set to defend their title at the 2019 World Cup in France on June 7.