Pay Disparity Controversy Hits U.S. Female and Male National Teams.

Sona Balakhchyan
The USWNT has been fighting for a raise over the years. However, it failed in a lawsuit bid for rights to equal pay.

The United States women’s national team is fighting off pay disparity with their male counterparts in what they claim unequal pay and gender-based discrimination by the United States Soccer Federation despite achieving more.

Despite winning a historic fourth World Cup title, the USWNT makes a fraction of their male counterparts despite being more successful.

The United States women’s national team has won four World Cups and four Olympic gold medals, a far cry from their men’s team, which hasn’t won an Olympic award in more than a century.

They were knocked out at the last-16 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and failed to qualify for the global Mundial in Russia four years later.

The minimum league salary for a player in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) was $16,538 in 2019, which doesn’t meet the living wage.

The minimum yearly salary for the first 24 players on each MLS roster rose from $67,500 in 2018 to $70,250 in 2019. The minimum for remaining players, 24 or younger, was increased from $54,500 in 2018 and $56,250 in 2019.

Compare this with $70,250, which was the minimum salary for a Major League Soccer (MLS) player in 2019. NWSL is the women’s professional soccer league in the United States, and MLS is the male equivalent.

Practically every national team member plays in their respective MLS or NWSL leagues, so it’s easy to see why the WNT negotiated hard for guaranteed pay and benefits.
Unlike the MNT players, WNT players did not have the same level of financial security from the professional leagues they competed in. Then there’s the money from FIFA, the international governing body for soccer.

However, the striking difference is that NWSL would not exist without financial support while the MLS is self-sufficient.
The men’s qualifying road is a two-year, 16-game slog across North and Central America and the Caribbean. U.S. Soccer argues that the roster bonuses for successful qualification — $15,000 for the women in 2015, $55,000 for the men in 2014 — imagine that.

And while U.S. Soccer also counts the women’s biweekly salaries (compensation that the male players do not receive) as a mitigating factor in its favor in the pay-equity dispute, the women play more games on a year-to-year basis. They must win them to claim their bonuses, effectively requiring them to work harder and perform better 7to keep pace.

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