Recently, members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) appeared on “60 Minutes” to discuss their fight for equal pay. Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Christen Press. Morgan Brian and former goaltender Hope Solo talked to Norah O’Donnell about their fight against the U.S. Soccer Federation. They discussed how they make less pay, fly coach vs. first class and, recently, have been forced to play on turf fields compared to grass fields as their male counterparts do.
“We feel like we’re treated like second class citizens because they don’t care as much about us as they do the men,” said captain Carli Lloyd. And it’s not just the U.S. Soccer Federation that is discriminating. In 2014 when Germany’s men’s team won gold in the World Cup, FIFA (sports international governing body) awarded them $33 million. Just one year later when the USWNT won the 2015 World Cup, they received just $2 million.
Their fight isn’t just about them, however. Christen Press said, “this is a social movement,” and they hope to inflict change not just in sports, but in any job where women do the same job as a man, for less pay. Read more here.
The very same day the USWNT appeared on “60 Minutes,” it was announced that player’s salaries in the National Women’s Hockey League were being cut. The league, who saw a successful first season in 2015-2016, cited cash flow problems and a drop in attendance in the first part of their second season.
Featuring some of America’s top players and standouts from the U.S. National team, the NWHL is the first women’s professional hockey league in the U.S. to pay its players. Many players were disappointed at the cuts – which an insider said were as high as 50% – and are concerned with the status of the league. New York Riveters captain Ashley Johnston stated, “this is a place where we all want to play. We’re all in invested in this league. We want to see it succeed.” Naysayers aren’t sure it will, but league Commissioner Dani Rylan believes it will ultimately succeed. Read more here.
Unequal pay for female athletes has never been a secret and is an often-discussed subject. We see it in the WNBA, which is the longest-running women’s professional sports league in the U.S. However disturbing and frustrating it may be, we have seen success stories: Golf, Tennis, the X-Games. These give us hope that with enough fight, we will get there.
According to the AAUW’s Fall 2016 Edition of “The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap,” women are still paid “just 80 percent of what men are paid.” They project that if it continues on the same rate of change that has happened in the past 55 years, the pay gap won’t disappear until 2059.
Let’s only hope that with the fight of these female athletes, it happens a bit sooner in the sports sector and the rest of the workplace follows suit.