The U.S. women’s soccer team has been in the press a lot of late, having just won their fourth Women’s World Cup title, achieving four Olympic gold medals and an impressive eight CONCACAF Gold Cups as well as the fact that in their field the USWNT is the most dominant team in the world, always surpassing tips for expected goals in games like their 13-0 smashing of Thailand in the most recent world cup. But even with this incredible success, the women’s team still claims that it is compensated less than the U.S. men’s soccer team, despite their relative lack of success. The discrepancy in pay has understandably received a lot of press but how much are they being paid and why should their pay be equal?
The Difference in Pay
The United States Soccer Federation is the official employer of both teams but the USSF has allowed members of the women’s team to receive less pay than members of the men’s team in several ways including:
- The bonus for men if they won the Men’s World Cup in 2018 would have been $38 million. In 2015, when the women won their third World Cup title, they only won a $2 million bonus and in 2019, with four wins under their belts, they earned just $4 million in bonuses.
- Between 2014 and 2016, female players earned $15000 for making the women’s team. Male players earned $55,000 for trying out and making the team in 2014 and $68,750 in 2018.
- When playing non-tournament games, the women’s team had a lower pay structure than the men’s team. For example, if the team played 20 friendlies and won all games, the female player would earn $4,950 per game while male players would earn $13,166 per game.
Why Women Should Earn the Same
The pay differences between men and women in soccer is a complex subject and one which has a number of different variables. It’s not just a case of ticket and merchandise sales, but there’s also broadcast rights and sponsorships to take into account. There’s also the fact that both teams are governed by two separate bargaining agreements. However, even with these factors taken into account, the women’s team still argue that their pay is less because of their gender. And they’ve taken the case to court in the hopes of overturning the imbalance, not just for soccer but also for the pay divide in other sports as well.
The women’s team might be facing fewer hurdles if it was purely based on numbers. Bike reported that the U.S. women’s team home jersey is now the number one soccer jersey ever sold on the site, out of both male or female, in one season. And the women’s team’s games have generated more revenue than the male team since their World Cup victory back in 2015. However, despite this, the female players will be paid a total of just $30 million, compared to $440 million for the 2022 male teams. Then there’s the fact that in terms of sporting success, the women’s team have certainly proven their worth in recent years by winning a number of competitions and tournaments.