Opinion: Women’s soccer has earned equal pay U.S. team is an inspiration

| Photo, Adobe Stock

OPINION |

By Betsy Navarro

The U.S. women’s soccer team should get paid as much as the U.S. men’s soccer team. Maybe even more.

The women’s team has won more games and tournaments than the men’s team, but the members are still being paid less due to their gender. This discrimination against women is unfair. Women work just as hard or harder than men do, but men are still being paid more.

As a woman who plays soccer, I too feel discriminated. I love to play and watch soccer. I have played soccer for nine years and watched soccer games, men and women teams, for my entire life. The players on the U.S. women’s soccer team are an inspiration to many people, young and old. They are an inspiration to me. When I’m watching U.S. women’s soccer team play a soccer game, I feel a sense of thrill and exhilaration.

But seeing all the hard work they put into playing soccer and representing the United States, and knowing they are being taken advantage of with lower salaries, is heartbreaking. This issue is not only in soccer, but in every job in the United States. Women are being paid less than men, even if they both work the same amount, in the same place, with the same job.

On July 7, 2019, the U.S. women’s soccer team defeated the Netherlands to win their fourth Women’s World Cup. Over 15 million people watched the 2019 Women’s World Cup final. According to NBC News, “The final was also a hit on social media, with the network touting 17.8 million views across various platforms, outpacing the 2018 men’s final by 18 percent.”

And now the 2019 Women’s World Cup final is the most viewed soccer event in the United States — with the most viewers since the women won the World Cup final match in 2015. The women’s World Cup matches have become the most viewed soccer events in the United States.

Not only that, but the women’s team set another record by scoring the most goals in a FIFA World Cup tournament with 26 goals.

On the same day as the U.S. women’s soccer team World Cup win, the U.S. men’s soccer team lost the Gold Cup final against Mexico. In the Gold Cup final, approximately 8.7 million people watched that game. That’s about 7 million fewer people than who watched the Women’s World Cup final.

The U.S. men’s soccer team were rewarded $500,000 as second place prize. And U.S. women’s soccer team were awarded $30 million for first place. But they only get to keep $4 million that they split among the team players. During the 2018 Men’s World Cup, the first place prize was $400 million. Members of the French team, which won the World Cup, kept $38 million, while the rest went to the French soccer organization.

The U.S. men’s soccer team has never won the World Cup or the Summer Olympics. Not only that, but the U.S. women’s soccer team have won more money in tournaments for the United States than the men have. And yet the women’s soccer team is still being paid a lost less than the men’s soccer team.

On March 8, 2019 the U.S. women’s soccer team sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for gender discrimination.

Something needs to change, and the change is simple: The members of the U.S. women’s soccer team should be earning at least a salary equal to the men.

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Young Voices Media Project teaches Monterey Bay area teens multimedia skills to report the news from their communities. This project was generously supported in 2019 by the Clare Giannini Fund.