Target: President of the U.S. Soccer Federation Sunil Gulati
Goal: Provide the players on the U.S. women’s national soccer team with fair pay.
The United States women’s national soccer team (USWNT) has established themselves as the most dominant women’s soccer team in the world, yet they earn as little as 40 percent of what the players on the men’s national team make. Five players on the USWNT’s have submitted a federal complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charging the U.S. Soccer Federation with discrimination. The five players who filed the complaint are among the most decorated female athletes in the world, including USWNT co-captains Carli Lloyd and Becky Sauerbrunn, goalkeeper Hope Solo, forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Megan Rapinoe.
The USWNT’s tremendous success in recent years has included winning the most prestigious tournaments in the world. USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo said that “The numbers speak for themselves. We are the best in the world, three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships, and the men’s team gets paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.”
There are many different ways in which male players’ wages are significantly higher. For example, a male player receives $5,000 for a loss in a friendly match but as much as $17,625 for a win against a top opponent. A female player receives $1,350 for a similar match, but only if the United States wins; women’s league players receive no bonuses for losses or ties.
The USWNT has been the driving economic force in United States’ soccer and has helped popularize the sport within in the country. It is well documented how little female athletes get paid in comparison to their male counterparts. Economist Andrew Zimbalist recently wrote about the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament, which pays about $260,000 to a conference for each game a team plays in the tournament, and the winning team makes about $1.56 million for its conference. In contrast, the NCAA women’s tournament awards zero dollars for winning a game. As you can see, female athletes’ earnings pale in comparison to men’s. The USWNT has been a powerful force for both women’s sports and for the U.S. Soccer Federation, and we demand that they receive fair pay for their efforts.
Dear President Gulati,
The USWNT is the most dominant women’s soccer team in the world, responsible for tremendously popularizing the sport in United States. Their success is not only far greater than their male counterparts, but it comparable to some of the greatest dynasties of all time. When the women’s team won their most recent World Cup, the final game was seen by 25.4 million viewers on Fox — a record for a men’s or women’s soccer game on English-language television in this country.
The fact that the USWNT is paid drastically less than the men’s team is clearly a violation of equal rights. The lawyer for the USWNT, Jeffrey Kessler has said that, “This is the strongest case of discrimination against female athletes in violation of law that I have ever seen.”
Both their performance in the world’s greatest tournaments, and the resulting economic growth for United States’ soccer are strong reasons to increase the USWNT’s wages. We demand that you recognize their achievements and provide them with the pay that they deserve.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Rachael King