Equal Pay For Female Athletes

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Photo by Mike Ehrmann

Members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team filed a lawsuit in March of 2019 for gender discrimination. On March 5, the team is seen playing Brazil in Tampa Florida.

For the past six years, the United States women’s national soccer team has been involved in a lawsuit involving the unequal pay of female athletes compared to male athletes. 

Soccer players, Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and other USWNT players have earned less than 40 percent compared to the players on the men’s national team leading them to file complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

David Berri, a professor of economics at Southern Utah University, investigated some of the reasoning behind unequal pay.

 “The raw numbers make it easy to assume that women make less money simply because fans prefer men’s games,” Berri stated.

Cindy Parlow Cone, a former member of the women’s soccer team, expressed her belief that men and women should receive equal compensation.

On July 7, 2019, in Lyon, France, Megan Rapinoe holds the FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy. She is surrounded by her teammates as they celebrate their win in the Women’s World Cup. (Photo Taken From Alex Grim).

“I believe in equal pay,” Cone said. “The only way we can get there — until FIFA equalizes the World Cup prize money — is for the men’s team, the women’s team, and U.S. Soccer to get together and reach an agreement on equalizing it ourselves.” 

To support gender equality and the equitable treatment of female players many male athletes have used their platforms.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers player, Will Allen, has used his voice to speak up for female athletes. 

“Women [should] not only [be] paid equal, but treated with equal respect,” Allen said.

According to The New York Times, in February of 2022, after being rejected of sharing 67 million between the team, an agreement of “several dozen current and former players that includes some of the world’s most popular and decorated athletes — will share $24 million in payments from U.S. Soccer.” 

The women’s national soccer team celebrates at a ticker-tape parade held in their honor. The women’s team defeated Netherlands 2-0 in the final match. (Photo Taken From Getty Photos).

After a long fight, this unexpected victory for the players has changed the game as it has marked the start of equal pay for all athletes. 

Alex Morgan, a forward and co-captain of the USWNT has worked to equalize pay by being a part of the lawsuit.

“What we set out to do was to have acknowledgment of discrimination from U.S. Soccer, and we received that through back pay in the settlement,” Morgan said. “We set out to have fair and equal treatment in working conditions, and we got that through the working conditions settlement. And we set out to have equal pay moving forward for us and the men’s team through U.S. Soccer, and we achieved that.”