Murray presses Republicans to end pay disparity in U.S. Soccer, strengthen protections for all women by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, spoke Thursday on the Senate floor before the Senate passed a resolution she wrote with Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) and others urging U.S. Soccer to ensure that the U.S. women’s national soccer team is fairly compensated, and affirming support for equal pay for equal work for all women. The resolution was adopted in the Senate by voice vote.
“I am extremely proud that my Senate colleagues have adopted this resolution – these are great words of support for women across the country,” said Murray following the passage of the resolution.“Now, let’s back it up with action by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act! I am going to keep fighting for this legislation, so I urge all my colleagues to put partisanship aside, once again, and work to get this done.”
In March, five top female players filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team are paid significantly less than their male counterparts, despite the women’s team’s record of winning three World Cup titles and four Olympic gold medals. Their complaint highlights the pervasive wage gap that women face. More than 50 years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, American women on average still only make 79 cents on the dollar.
In 2015, the women’s team produced nearly $20 million in revenue and won the World Cup, breaking television rating records with 25.4 million viewers in the final match alone, as compared to the men’s record of 18.2 million in 2014.
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) was among the 34 members in introducing a resolution (H.Res. 746) urging the U.S. Soccer Federation to immediately end gender pay inequality.
“Member of the U.S. Women’s National Team are some of the most visible athletes in the world and serve as an inspiration and as role models to young athletes across the United States and worldwide,” the resolution states. “Unequal pay on the basis of gender tells women and girls that, whether on the soccer field or in the office, the hard work of the women or girls is not valued equally to that of male counterparts.”
In her remarks, Murray cited how the U.S. women’s national soccer team, and women across the country and across professions, are paid significantly less than their male counterparts. Murray has consistently fought to help end the wage gap, in particular through the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would provide women with additional tools to identify and fight back against pay discrimination.
“In our country, women in the workplace, no matter where they live, no matter their background, no matter what career they choose, on average, earn less than their male colleagues,” she said. “The wage gap even extends to Olympic gold medalists and World Cup champions playing for the U.S. women’s national soccer team. So, today, I am coming to the floor to show support for the women’s national soccer team. And to affirm the sense of the Senate that we support equal pay for equal work for all women in our country.”
“…this isn’t just about the money,” she continued. “It’s also about the message it sends to women and girls across our country and the world. The pay gap between the men and women’s national soccer teams is emblematic of what is happening all across our country. On average, women get paid just 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. This is at a time when women, more than ever, are likely to be the primary breadwinner for their family. The wage gap isn’t just unfair to women. It hurts families. And it hurts our economy.”
Adding, “…today, we have a chance to show our support for women athletes and women in the workforce, who get paid less than their male colleagues. M. President, two weeks ago, I – along with 21 of my colleagues – introduced Senate Resolution 462 to make clear that pay discrimination is wrong. This resolution urges U.S. Soccer to end pay disparities and treat all athletes with respect and dignity. And it expresses our strong support to end the pay gap and strengthen equal pay protections. I am here to give the Senate the opportunity to take a stand with the members of the U.S. Soccer women’s team against the pay gap and wage discrimination and to support this resolution.”