By Natalie Robinson
After winning the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Vancouver Canada, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team took the Rio Olympics in full force. The team put on a show for their many fans all the way through the quarterfinals where they were knocked out by Sweden. Even this was a shock. They were expected to move on and go farther in the tournament.
How did the U.S. National Men’s Team do? They did not even qualify. Not for the first time but for the second consecutive Olympic Games the mens team failed to pass the initial stages of qualification.
Yet the team who has walked away empty handed more times is the team whose players are being paid more. There is unequal pay within the mens and women’s National Soccer Teams. This pay is unequal on the women’s side.
A few members of the Women’s National Team are setting the standards and demanding a higher pay as their male counter parts.
“We’ve had enough,” USWNT member Megan Rapinoe said. “Our hand has been forced.”
Megan Rapinoe is one of five members of the United States Women’s National Team that has taken full force into the Equal Play, Equal Pay Campaign. Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd and Becky Sauerbrunn joined Rapinoe in going public.
What is even more concerning about the situation is the varying levels of success in the midst of the discrepancies in pay. The women’s team has consistently shown to be more successful, bringing in more views on television than the men’s team has in previous years.
During the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015, the USWNT made it to the final against Japan. The team’s 5-2 win drew in more than twenty-five million people in the United States, the largest-ever television audience for any English-speaking broadcast of any soccer game, men’s or women’s.
The women’s team has been very successful. Appearances in the FIFA World Cup, the Olympics and players succeeding in the NWPL all have proved that these players successes are worthy of equal pay.
The mens team has not had nearly the same successes. They have not qualified for the Olympics for 8 years. They have been knocked out of FIFA World cup tournaments and while they still get visibility and income through players jerseys and tickets sales, it is not to the same level as the Women’s team yet the mens team is the one who is being paid more.
“It’s about doing the right thing, the fair thing,” Lloyd wrote in an Op-Ed for the New York Times. “It’s about treating people the way they deserve to be treated, no matter their gender.”
These women are implying that equal play deserves equal pay. It is simply a matter of respect. As a female athlete myself I agree with that issue. Respect should not be a matter of gender in any instance, sports, work, or other. It it something that should simply be taken account of in those instances like sports so the competition is equal. But with equality all around there seems to be a lack of equality with the the pay gap and in terms of respect for what the USWNT is doing.
This conflict is still a current debate today and the issue is still at hand in international soccer as well as the women’s and mens league in the United States. No progress has been made to lessen the gap in the wage difference however the battle still continues and the women have no intent to back down.