I’m thrilled about the US Women’s Soccer Team winning their fourth world cup! I’m also excited the Chilean women’s fútbol team made it to the World Cup this year. You may remember I talked about soccer/football on Fake Flamenco last year. The US Men’s stats are still the same, no World Cup wins so far. But the US women’s national team have earned first place in the world again and again. They’ve won a greater number of Women’s World Cups than any other team. Their playing is superb; they scored 26 goals during this championship, the most scored by a single team in the history of the women’s tournament, since 1991. They’ve also won 4 Olympic Gold medals since 1996.
The US women’s international soccer television ratings are better than the men’s in their home country as well (their 2015 World Cup win was the most watched TV soccer in US history, only topped by this year’s). It would be fair to make the women’s prize money equal to the men’s, or commensurate with their popularity. However, neither their pay by US Soccer nor their prizes for the FIFA World Cup match their male counterparts.
The 2018 Men’s World Cup winners, France’s team as a whole, received 38 million dollars. The USA women won $4 million in 2019, that was after FIFA doubled their prize money! Let’s do a little math for fun, the French men received not double, not triple, but 9.5 times more for their win. When the US women’s team won their fourth World Cup on Saturday, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Tweeted, “At this point we shouldn’t even be asking for Equal Pay…we should demand they be paid at least twice as much” concerning their salaries in the US.
But men’s US soccer is generating more revenue, and thus they deserve their share. Right? Well, no. Since 2015, the women are earning more for US Soccer. How much more? In 2017, the female team generated twice the revenues of the men. Yet, the men’s pay and bonuses are far higher; they can earn more than twice as much. In March of this year, the 28 women of the US National Team sued US Soccer for gender discrimination under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Cleverly, the date of the suit was on International Women’s Day. The case has yet to be heard in Federal Court. What will the judge decide?
When I looked in depth at women’s world soccer last year for my post, I noticed that women in sports is a bellwether for feminine health, self-determination and gender equality. The women’s team court case against discrimination could have far reaching effects, here and abroad. I hope the “Fair play, fair pay” motto can go beyond radio air time to the football pitch, then move to our streets, homes and offices internationally.
Gracias for reading Fake Flamenco! Olé! –Rebecca