Soccer and Salaries: The U.S. Women’s National Team Fights for Equity

Photo by Nathan Rogers for Unsplash.

July 09, 2019


This roundup of recent articles highlights the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s fight for fair pay in the wake of their World Cup victory.

Shortly after the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) clinched the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup on July 7 with a 2-0 win against the Netherlands, the crowd in the stadium started chanting “Equal Pay!”

It was a powerful reminder of the battle that the USWNT – and women everywhere – have been fighting for years: to be paid the same as men for doing the same work.

[The New York Times]

Or, in some cases, for doing even more work. The USWNT has been the best in the world for decades. According to a lawsuit filed by the team in March, in recent years they have played more games than the men’s team, earned larger viewing audiences, and generated a greater share of profits and revenue for the U.S. Soccer Federation. The women have now won four World Cup titles and four Olympic medals. Yet in some cases they earn just 38% of men’s pay per game.

[The Atlantic]

Just how much money is at stake? A lot. This World Cup, 24 teams competed for $30 million in prize money from FIFA — which is a mere 7.5% of the Men’s World Cup prize of $400 million in 2018. As the winners, the USWNT will split $4 million of these funds.


The women’s team is losing out on bonuses as well. If the women were entitled to the same World Cup bonuses as the U.S. men’s national team, their rewards would six times larger by the time they reached the quarter-finals.  

[The Guardian]

They’re not alone in being underpaid. AAUW research shows that, on average, women working full-time are paid 80% of what their male counterparts make – a figure that has changed by less than a nickel during the 21st century. Moreover, a gender pay gap persists across all demographics, in every part of the country, and in nearly every line of work, including female-dominated professions like teaching and nursing.

That’s why AAUW is committed to achieving gender pay equity by advocating for state and federal equal-pay laws like the Paycheck Fairness Act, working with employers to ensure fair workplace practices, and teaching women to negotiate for more money. It’s an approach that focuses on driving change while empowering women to advocate for themselves – because, as Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins said of the USWNT: “The U.S. women didn’t wait for their moment. They demanded it, and that’s what real power is.”

By:   |   July 09, 2019