With the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup commencing on Friday, soccer and sports fans alike from the globe over will divert their attention to the best athletes women’s soccer has to offer as they play in order to win the bragging rights for their country.
The tournament will take place in France and the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) will defend their 2015 World Cup title against 23 other nations from six confederations under FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association).
The success of the women’s national team is vastly juxtaposed with the success of their male counterparts who failed to even qualify for the men’s World Cup last summer. Despite the limited success of the men’s team, they still receive far more payment and better working conditions than the USWNT.
On March 8, which was International Women’s Day and just three months before defending their World Cup title, 28 members of the USWNT filed a lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) for equity in pay and working conditions to be similar to the men’s national team.
According to the lawsuit, the USSF has control over every aspect of the American international soccer, including pay, training and staff selections, which has permitted them to “perpetuate gender-based discrimination” against the USWNT.
For the women’s team to have amassed so much success but to get paid considerably less than the men do is a gross injustice.
Most of those who are against the claims of the USWNT would say that the men’s team generates more revenue. However, in their suit, the opposite is stated. During the relevant period which is referred to in the case of Apr. 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016, the USSF budgeted for a loss of $429,929.
But due to the success of the USWNT winning the World Cup, the USSF updated their projections to show a $17.7 million profit.
Despite providing substantial income for the USSF, the women’s national team received little of that money back, only receiving a $1.7 million bonus after winning the World Cup, while the men received bonuses of more than $5 million in 2014 for losing in the round of 16 in the 2014 men’s World Cup.
There are also a significant amount of people that believe that no one watches women’s soccer. However, there’s no weight to that claim at all, with the 2015 women’s World Cup final drawing in 25 million viewers, the most of a soccer game in American history.
Also unfairly, the women are also asked to perform the same duties as the men, but with less pay and less than preferable conditions.
From 2014 to 2017, the USWNT played about a quarter of their games on artificial turf which most players have cited as most prone to cause injury. USWNT player Sydney LeRoux Dwyer shared a photo of her legs bloodied and scarred from playing on an artificial surface.
Along with playing on unacceptable fields, they also tend to spend “more time practicing for and playing in matches, more time in training camps, more time traveling and more time participating in media sessions” compared to the men’s national team.
It’s unfair that although both teams have the same job descriptions and expectations from the USSF, the men’s team receives more benefits than the women from their mutual employer.
In a note published on The Players’ Tribune, Alex Morgan, a star forward for USWNT said, “I really believe that the World Cup can be a platform for female empowerment, and we want to capitalize on that, both on and off the field.”
Although the lawsuit is still active and will surely not be resolved before the USWNT begin their World Cup campaign, the USWNT are considered the favorites to win the cup again. Their consistent and unmatched success make the women’s national team deserving of much more than they already receive from the USSF.