The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has gained 4 World Cups. It’s gained 4 Olympic gold medals, too. The workforce has stuffed stadiums, damaged viewing data and bought out of jerseys ― all metrics by which a preferred sports activities workforce is judged profitable.
And but, the workforce’s gamers are nonetheless paid lower than their male counterparts.
Megan Rapinoe, a star of the ladies’s workforce, informed lawmakers on Wednesday that there’s a reasonably easy motive why.
“What we’ve learned and what we continue to learn is that there is no level of status, accomplishments, or power that will protect you from the clutches of inequity,” she mentioned earlier than the House Oversight and Reform Committee. “One cannot simply outperform inequality or be excellent enough to escape discrimination of any kind.”
Rapinoe, who testified throughout a listening to on equal pay and gender inequity, mentioned her teammates have been preventing to make as a lot as gamers on the boys’s nationwide workforce for years, effectively earlier than they filed a gender discrimination lawsuit in opposition to the U.S. Soccer Federation in 2019. They filed a criticism with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016, alleging wage discrimination; the EEOC dominated that that they had a proper to sue. They tried to barter higher pay with the U.S. Soccer Federation. That went nowhere.
“Time and time again, we were told, just simply, no,” she mentioned. “The only thing that was going to be available was less — and far less, to be honest.”
The wildly well-liked workforce has been extra profitable and generates more revenue than the boys’s workforce, however its members make a mean of $30,000 much less than male gamers, and earn smaller bonuses for making it to the World Cup.
Rapinoe mentioned the workforce plans take authorized motion for as lengthy it takes to get equal pay, and it’ll discuss publicly speak about it as a result of they see the problem as larger than them. Millions of ladies in America don’t receives a commission as a lot as their male counterparts, she mentioned, they usually don’t have the identical platform and media consideration as the ladies’s soccer workforce. This struggle is for all of them too, she mentioned.
“I feel like, honestly, we’ve done everything,” Rapinoe mentioned. “You want stadiums filled? We filled them. You want role models for your kids? For your boys and girls and little trans kids? We have that. You want us to be respectful? You want us to perform on the world stage? You want us to take the stars and stripes, the red, white and blue, across the entire globe and represent America in the best way possible? We’ve done all that.”
“There’s no reason why we’re underpaid for the exception of gender,” she mentioned.
A federal decide tossed out a part of the workforce’s lawsuit in May 2020, saying gamers didn’t have sufficient proof to assist their declare that they weren’t being paid equally by the U.S. Soccer Federation. But the lawsuit’s argument that the federation violated the gamers’ rights underneath the Civil Rights Act stays, and the workforce has vowed to keep fighting.
In December 2020, the U.S. Soccer Federation reached a settlement with the ladies’s workforce on work circumstances, however not on pay.
You need stadiums stuffed? We stuffed them. You need position fashions on your youngsters? For your girls and boys and little trans youngsters? We have that. … We’ve accomplished all that.”
During Wednesday’s listening to, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) tried to ding Rapinoe and her workforce for agreeing to a collective bargaining settlement in 2017, solely to later sue over it being insufficient.
“Your union that represented you all did such a bang up job, did so well, you had to sue later because the deal was so bad, it sounds like,” mentioned Mace.
“We had to sue later because of gender discrimination,” Rapinoe replied.
The athlete mentioned that whereas points like salaries are inclined to get probably the most consideration in discussions of equal pay in sports activities, the shortage of funding in girls’s versus males’s sports activities — whether or not in advertising, branding or ticket gross sales — is commonly ignored.
“We don’t really know the real potential of women’s sports,” she mentioned. “What we know is how successful women’s sports have been in the face of discrimination, in the face of gender disparity, in the face of a lack of investment on virtually every single level in comparison to men.”
The males’s nationwide soccer workforce has agreed. They issued an announcement final 12 months saying members of the ladies’s workforce needs to be paid triple what they at the moment earn, and accused soccer officers of perpetuating “a false narrative” concerning the girls’s workforce’s gender discrimination lawsuit.
Rapinoe informed lawmakers that there’s nothing stopping the U.S. Soccer Federation or different companies from paying girls equitably besides the truth that they only don’t need to do it.
“We just have to want to,” she mentioned. “So, as always, LFG.”
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