America has a few adages that consistently ring true in our capitalistic society. Money begets money, the rich get richer and all wealth is the product of labor, among many other platitudes. Noted pro-capitalist, and woman — this will make sense why I added that in a second — Ayn Rand stated that, “capitalism demands the best of every man—his rationality—and rewards him accordingly.” The U.S. prides itself and promotes people, teams and institutions who achieve success and typically, rewards hard work. This is the foundation of the antiquated “American Dream” concept and our country has been extolling this notion for centuries.
So what happens when you have an uber-successful team, that works extremely hard year-round, representing this same country and kicking MAJOR ass? Typically they are ballyhooed to the nth degree and paid handsomely for their exertion. But what happens when those who are kicking said buttocks and lifting prizes are women? Equal pay gets thrown out the window along with sense, obviousness and facts. You want some facts on the pay gap between the U.S. Women’s and Men’s soccer teams? Check these out:
- From 2016 to 2018, Women’s games generated approximately $50.8 million in revenue, compared with $49.9 million for Men’s games according to WSJ and CNBC.
- The Women’s team received $1.725 million for winning the 2015 World Cup, just one-third of the $5.375 million that the US Soccer awarded the men’s team for losing in the 16 round of the Men’s World Cup.
- From 2013 to 2016, female players earned $15,000 for making the national team while the men earned $55,000 in 2014 and $68,750 in 2018.
- In 2016, women’s games generated $1.9 million more in sales than men’s games, according to audited financial statements from the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) obtained by The Wall Street Journal.
- $15 million in prizes was available for the women in Canada (2015 World Cup). That’s around 2.6% of what was available for men. FIFA spent more on its feature film about itself (!!!) called United Passions, which reportedly cost $24 million.
- The U.S. Men’s Team ran at a deficit in 2017 while the Women’s team had a surplus of $5 million. Yes, that’s in a non World Cup year for both squads.
- The USA Women’s home jersey is now the No. 1 soccer jersey, men’s or women’s, ever sold on Nike.com in one season.
- About 14 million people watched on TV in the U.S. on Sunday, according to Nielsen ratings. Last year’s men’s World Cup final between France and Croatia averaged 11.4 million viewers on Fox, which means the U.S. Women drew a 22 percent bigger audience in the states. The 2015 Women’s World Cup final against Japan drew a worldwide television audience of 750 million, the most watched U.S. affiliated soccer match (men’s or women’s) ever.
- The 2019 Women’s World Cup prize money is $30 million—7.5% of the Men’s World Cup prize.
- US Women’s soccer players have earned about $90,000 each* in 2019 World Cup bonuses so far; they would have made $550,000 per person if they were paid like the men. *Published before championship game.*
- The U.S. Men’s team receives a $5,000 bonus for a loss in a friendly match, while women receive nothing for a loss or a draw.
So what do these 11 facts prove about the U.S. Women’s team and women’s soccer in general? A) There is a market for the international women’s game. B) The U.S. Women make more money for U.S. Soccer than the men, are watched more, are more successful and popular and make more money for their apparel outfitters. And yet they get paid peanuts comparatively. Huh? Let’s also take a look at the list of trophies the Women’s team has won compared to the men.
World Cup Champs: 4X
Olympic Gold Medals: 4X
CONCACAF Gold Cup Champs: 8X
Algarve Cup Champs: 10X
SheBelieves Cup: 2 out of 3 played
Best World Cup Finish: Third place……in 1930. Best finish in the last 50 years? 8th
They have failed to qualify for the World Cup 11 times. They’ve only qualified 10 times.
CONCACAF Gold Cup Champs: 6X
Best Copa Americas Finish: 4th
Best Confederations Cup Finish: 2nd
Best Olympic Finish: 4th
Another crazy aspect of this? The Women’s team played their first international competition a full 100 years after the men’s team was established. 1885 vs. 1985. Their success in this 34-year span is unrivaled by any national team of any sport ever. Yet, they still have to fight in the courts to obtain equal pay compared to their much less successful and less popular counterparts. Not only does this reek of gender inequality and discrimination, but it screams of the antiquated ways in which we treat women in the workplace. This is America. Success and popularity are everything. So why isn’t U.S. soccer rewarding that monetarily?
While things have improved a little since 2017, as the USWNT reached a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with U.S. Soccer. This only means a 30% bump in base pay. Even with the 30% bump, the disparity is still wide between the women and men. Last week, the U.S. women’s soccer team and US Soccer Federation reportedly agreed to enter mediation over the lawsuit brought by all 28 players against the federation alleging gender discrimination.
A court battle that started in 2016, post-2015 World Cup, has now entered a phase that could see some progression and action. This (hopefully) eventual positive action would be historic in female’s fight for equal wages in sport and would be a watershed moment for equal pay for women in the workplace. While President Donald Trump is beefing with Megan Rapinoe and spewing uneducated nonsense about “looking at the numbers” in their fight for equal pay and the old white male patriarchy, that leads nearly every powerful institution (especially the news outlets after them and the U.S. Soccer Federation as well) in America, continues to try to put them down, the U.S. Women’s team just keeps on winning and fighting for equal rights.
It makes absolutely no sense why they shouldn’t be paid equal to their male counterparts. We here at Five Tier want to help. We are standing by the USWNT in their fight by having them up on our Commuter Times Square billboard, above the busiest public transit stop in the country, for massive exposure. YOU can help by texting EQUAL to 313131 to show your support and help in the fight for #equalpayforequalplay.