U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Files Wage Discrimination Complaint

Article By: Josh Miller

While spring break was an opportunity for ISM’s third season athletes to take a break from the demands of their respective sports, a number of events in the sporting world transpired. In the world of soccer, for example, Chelsea FC’s slumping season gained a boost with the appointment of new manager, Antonio Conte; the Philippine Azkals won a historic 3-2 victory over North Korea, propelling them to the third round of the 2019 Asian Cup Qualifier; and perhaps most notably, athlete testimonials from the most recognized women’s team in soccer filed a wage discrimination complaint regarding the income inequality between genders.

Members of the renowned U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) recently vented their frustrations regarding the gender inequality of wages received between them and the equivalent professional U.S. Men’s Soccer Team players. Prior to the women’s gold medal victory at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada last summer, several members of the USWNT were a part of another controversy surrounding alleged gender discrimination due to the format of the tournament; in 2014, FIFA announced that the women’s tournament would be played on artificial turf pitches as opposed to the preferred natural grass fields used in the men’s tournament. Complaints were filed regarding the players’ safety but to little avail.

During the tournament, yet another gender-gap inequality issue arose in the form of the imbalance of wages received, and yet, despite the USWNT’s increased fame following their gold medal finish in the tournament, the players’ cries and complaints have seemingly remained  unheard. Although minor improvements have been made, players of the women’s game are still suffering pay deficits of thousands of dollars in comparison to professional men’s teams, despite equivalent time commitments to their professions and arguably, soccer ability.

Veterans of the USWNT, such as team captain, Carli Lloyd; goalkeeper, Hope Solo; midfielder, Megan Rapinoe; defender, Becky Sauerbrunn; and striker, Alex Morgan, recently filed formal complaints regarding the wage discrimination issue citing that despite having brought home more medals than their male counterparts in the form of one silver and two gold finishes in the last two editions of the Women’s World Cup and the 2012 London Olympics, most players on the women’s team receive as little as 38% of the men’s wages.

Female soccer players from different national teams have expressed their support for the movement on social media and in interviews. Although modern-day wage inequalities have been rampant across almost all sports, no substantial action has taken place to diminish the gap, especially in the sport of soccer. The recent complaint will hopefully become a significant step forward for all female athletes, and hopefully the issue will be addressed justly with progress to be made in the near future.