There has been a lot of talk following the US Women’s first showing in the 2019 World Cup.
As a reminder: they won handily against Thailand, ending in a score of 13-0 (really, it should’ve been 14-0, but there was an extremely questionable offside call against Alex Morgan). The team has faced backlash since about ‘running up the score’. If you’d like to read specifically about why that’s bullshit, I suggest reading this article from Yahoo! Sports.
All of this is totally overshadowing two super important things about this group of girls. These are the things we should actually be talking about:
- These girls are AMAZING athletes and the team is really freaking good.
- They are still be vastly underpaid.
THEY’RE REALLY GOOD.
The U.S. Women ranked #1 going into the World Cup this year. In all of 2019, they’ve won 8 games, lost 1, and tied in 2. Not to mention, they scored 42 goals against opponents across those 11 games.
In the game against Thailand, 7 different players on the US team were able to get that ball into the back of the net.
Since the beginning of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991, the US Women’s Team has taken home 3 of 7 championships. Women’s soccer became an Olympic sport in 1996 and the US has won gold in 4 of those 6, as well.
Despite their continued and proven success, the women still makes significantly less month than the US Men’s Team (and they’re not good!). For example, the Men’s National Team has scored 12 World Cup goals in the past 6,202 days. Male players for the US make more for LOSING a game than the women do for WINNING. Let that sink in for a moment.
In March of this year, 28 members of the US Women’s Team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit with the United States Soccer Federation. The suit spells out several egregious discrepancies in the pay rates of players on the two teams. ESPN states in the filing that the “women would earn $99,000 if they won 20 friendlies, while men would likely earn $263,320 each and get $100,000 even if they lost all the games”.
Soccer, obviously, is not the only area where we see unfair pay for women when performing the same job as men. The Hill reported the estimation that women in America are making about 80 cents for every dollar earned by men. This number decreases to 61 cents for black women and 53 cents for Latina women.
Even when all they’re doing is fighting to be EQUAL, the naysayers are constantly chirping that they should ‘just be happy’ to be representing the country and grateful to be ‘getting paid to play the sport’ they love. NOTE: No one has that narrative surrounding the men’s team. I think Megan Rapinoe, midfielder and all around soccer badass, responded to these critics the best.
“We very much believe it is our responsibility, not only for our team and for future U.S. players, but for players around the world — and frankly women all around the world — to feel like they have an ally in standing up for themselves, and fighting for what they believe in, and fighting for what they deserve and for what they feel like they have earned.”