By Drew Zuhosky
Last summer, the United States Women’s National Soccer Team took the headlines by storm, winning the Women’s World Cup in a convincing manner.
Behind all the celebration, confetti, and parades, there’s another battle fought by this team. Income inequality.
The USWNT took to national television to voice their concerns. In a March 31 interview on “Today,” several athletes on the team’s roster, including Alex Morgan and Hope Solo, spoke via satellite with co-anchor Matt Lauer about the complaint filed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in regards to the wage discrepancy.
Lauer pointed out some sobering figures before the interview began. The USWNT’s per match salary ranges from $3,600 to $4,950, whereas the United States Men’s National Team’s per match salary starts out at $6,250 and topping out at $17,625.
Already, I saw something wrong there. However, it gets even more disjointed when you consider these figures. If a female athlete is selected to the USWNT’s World Cup team, that triggers a $30,000 bonus, but the bonus for selection to the USMNT’s World Cup team is $68,750.
That’s almost a $40,000 difference in bonus money.
In the NBC interview last Thursday, Lloyd said of the complaint, “I think the timing is right. I think that we’ve proven our worth over the years, just coming off of a World Cup win, and the pay disparity between the men and women is just too large, and we want to continue to fight. The generation of players before us fought, and now it’s our job to keep on fighting.”
Those are extremely strong words by Lloyd.
In a USA Today article on Friday, writer A.J. Perez interviewed Ida Castro, who previously worked as the chief of the EECO. According to Perez about the complaint, “They are both soccer teams, right? There is no significant difference between the soccer games that I can see.”
I side with Perez here. There isn’t any difference. These are two teams of athletes representing the same nation playing the same exact sport. The only noteworthy contrast here is the wages.
In the grand scheme, does the USWNT have a chance at winning when this complaint is heard? Yes, they have a chance — an extremely great chance to emerge from this complaint with the victory.
Income inequality transcends far beyond the sporting world.
If I knew a female employee who had knowingly been paid less for the same work as a man, I’d tell her that she’d need to write a resignation letter and give the boss two weeks’ notice, because she has to get out of dodge.
In my humble opinion, the fact that we still have the issue of wage inequality here in 2016 is just downright wrong and appalling.
What the heck happened to the principle of equal pay? Sad to see that it’s still lost on people.
In closing, I know that the USWNT is a championship team, and although they’ll head to Rio de Janeiro to defend their three-time Olympic gold medal performance in soccer later this summer, the battle for income equality may be the toughest opponent they’ve faced yet.
If the complaint goes in their favor, it’ll be the biggest goal they’ve ever scored.