After the U.S. women’s national soccer team defeated the Netherlands on Sunday to claim its fourth World Cup title, chants of “Equal pay!” rang out in the crowd as fans expressed support for the athletes in their fight for equity with their male counterparts, who consistently earn far more money more despite performance.
In an effort to combat this pay gap, 28 members of the 2015 women’s team—which also won the World Cup—sued the U.S. Soccer Federation on International Women’s Day last year demanding an end to “institutionalized gender discrimination.”
As Quartz reported in March, “despite being the victors [in 2015]—and the most successful women’s team in history—the U.S. team received a bonus of just $1.725 million from their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation. A year earlier, that same federation had awarded the U.S. men’s team bonuses totaling $5.375 million after they lost in the Round of 16 and failed to qualify for the 2018 men’s World Cup.”
Aware of this yawning disparity, the crowd gathered inside Lyon Olympic Stadium in France backed the women’s fight for basic equality:
Even the World Cup crowd believes in the U.S. Women's National Soccer team's fight for equal pay 👏 pic.twitter.com/GtkVwDtcv7
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 7, 2019
As Buzzfeed reported Sunday, “women’s soccer games have generated more revenue than the men’s over the past three years.”
“From 2016 to 2018, women’s games generated $50.8 million in revenue,” according to Buzzfeed, “compared with $49.9 million for the men’s matches.”
Speaking to the Associated Press May, star forward Megan Rapinoe—who made headlines recently by calling President Donald Trump “a man that warrants no respect” and vowing to turn down an invitation to the White House—criticized the “incremental” changes that have been put forth by FIFA and the U.S. Soccer Federation.
“I would like to see a major paradigm shift and sort of a major overhaul,” Rapinoe said. “There’s been such a lack of investment for all of these years, and such a lack of care and attention that doubling or tripling or quadrupling investment, care, attention to the women’s game I think would be appropriate.”
After the women’s victory on Sunday, Rapinoe confronted FIFA president Gianni Infantino—who was booed by fans—and said, “It’s time to sit down with everyone and really get to work.”
Asked how she felt about fans booing Infantino, Rapinoe responded, “A little public shame never hurt anybody.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was among the progressives who expressed support on social media for the women’s fight for pay equity:
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 7, 2019
Molly Levinson, the spokesperson for U.S. women’s team players in their pay discrimination lawsuit, told Buzzfeed Sunday that, “At this moment of tremendous pride for America, the sad equation remains all too clear, and Americans won’t stand for it anymore.”
“These athletes generate more revenue and garner higher TV ratings but get paid less simply because they are women,” said Levinson. “It is time for the Federation to correct this disparity once and for all.”