The Gender Gap struggle continues in the USA as the women’s national soccer team joins the fight. Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Rebecca Sauerbrunn, Hope Solo and Alex Morgan filed a complaint this week with the EEOC on behalf of the entire women’s team. The complaint alleges that players on the women’s national team make less than half of what male counterparts earn. I’ve read several articles that all contain supposed factual information re: the actual pay gap but it seems to exist somewhere between 40% to 50% of what men earn. The national average for the Gender Gap currently sits at about 78% so the differential for the women soccer players is astounding. The suit indicates that men make more in salary, per game pay, and appearances than their female counterparts.
The women’s team is far more successful on the field than the men’s team. The women’s team has recently won:
– three World Cup titles
– four Olympic gold medals
The men have no World Cup titles and no Olympic medals during the same time period. It appears failure is rewarded and success is unrewarded. This point is even more relevant when the Gender Gap is shown to increase the more educated a woman becomes. The Gender Gap is greater for a woman with an advanced college degree than it is for women with a high school diploma.
The situation becomes even more unfair when the financial contributions of the men’s and women’s teams are compared. The men’s team in recent figures was shown to have a loss of almost $500,000 while the women’s teams have contributed between $17 and $20 million of profit to US soccer depending on the estimate.
The interest our women’s soccer team has generated in this country is difficult to calculate but the end result is clear: the women have generated far more interest than the men as the TV ratings demonstrate.
OUR NATIONAL TEAM
We are talking about our national teams. This Gender Gap issue is bigger than just the women’s soccer team. It makes a huge statement about our country and our attitude towards women. If we want to be a leader in fighting for human rights we need to consider that the first fight belongs here at home. We cannot and should not justify this discrepancy.
Former EEOC chief Ida Castro has stated “it will be difficult for the employer [US Soccer] to justify the differential in pay”. The work is the same, the jobs are equal yet the compensation is different. I don’t know how US Soccer can defend their position to the EEOC but we all know they will try.
Imagine if the roles were reversed. Imagine if the men won all the World Cup titles and Olympic gold medals. Imagine if the men produced a profit of $20 million to a loss of $500,000 by the women. We all know the arguments that would be put forth in support of the men. We see those arguments every time Title IX is in the discussion.
This is an embarrassment on several fronts; it’s an embarrassment that the Gender Gap is still an issue in the year 2016; it’s an embarrassment that the differential is so large, far worse than the national average; it’s an embarrassment that the women’s team represents our country and the issue reflects a position by our country; and it’s an embarrassment that US Soccer ever allowed it to come to this. The heads of US Soccer should all be fired for gross negligence.
We all know politicians will never resolve or fix this issue. It must be accomplished by us, the people. It’s time the Gender Gap ended!