US Women Soccer Players Paid Far Less than Male Counterparts

US Women Soccer Players Paid Far Less than Male Counterparts

When do athletes get paid more to show up than to win?  Apparently when they’re US Olympic male soccer athletes, compared to US female soccer athletes.

The US female soccer team has had unmatched success over the past two decades, winning 4 Olympic gold medals in the 5 Olympics in which women’s soccer has been held.  The soccer finals have been one of the most highly-watched competitions in the summer games in the United States, in large part due to the intense competition and fierceness displayed by our women athletes.

As for the success of the men’s soccer team ….. not so much.  The men’s team has historically been quite average, and certainly far less dominating than the U.S. Women’s Team.

So, which athletes get paid more?

In a charge of discrimination recently filed with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 5 members of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team allege that they were paid significantly less than their male counterparts, earning as little as 40% of what the male players were paid.  The discrimination complaint names U.S. Soccer as the Defendant, which is the governing body for the U.S. male and female soccer teams.

Why the Disparity in Pay?

Graphics provided by the New York Times show the difference in pay scale between men’s and women’s soccer.  The fact that this pay difference exists does not seem to be disputed by U.S. Soccer.

Instead, U.S. Soccer contends that the pay disparity is driven by economics, and claims that men’s soccer results in multiple times the revenue as female matches.  (Although this would seem not to be the case in most Olympics and World Cup matches, as the men’s team typically is ousted earlier in the competition than the women’s team, who usually make it to the finals).

It’s unclear whether this revenue claim is even true.  Certainly when the women’s Olympics are televised, the women’s soccer matches seem to be a huge source of pride, not only for all U.S. sports fans, but particularly for girls and young women.  Women’s soccer shows girls, who are forced to grow up in a male-dominated televised sports world, that they too can become great athletes and be the center of the sports world.

What Can Be Done?

Certainly the U.S. male soccer players do not want to have their pay reduced to the level of the women’s pay.  Worse, they would not want to be compensated based solely on wins.

It’s time to give the women their due and pay them the top wages earned by the men.  They’ve more than proven they deserve it.