U.S. Women's Soccer Team Documents Equal Pay Struggles In New Book | Reigning Women
"The National Team" is said to document the fight for equal faced by the USWNT for fall too long. Here's the scoop:
You know the team, you know the story, you even know their names. Names like Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan are no foreigners to the American household.
Yet, we're willing to bet that choice names on our men's national team are lost on most of you. They're certainly lost on us.
There's certainly reason for that. The women of the U.S. soccer team have not only lead the country to staggering numbers in victories and wins, but they've also put up perhaps one of the most valiant fights for equal pay.
Our men's team? Hasn't exactly shown equal prowess in the winning circle and hasn't voiced much of their opinion about whether or not their sistering program's paychecks. Why? Because they make significantly more.
Before we get into those numbers, let's get into a few others that are vital to the case of equal pay here.
The success of the women's national team, while it can certainly be measured in fan & supporter rapport, is made evident through their accomplishments.
With three Women's World Cup titles, for Olympic gold medals, and a whopping eight CONCACAF Gold Cups, the women's national team is ranked #1 in the world by FIFA, which is, of course, the international federation for soccer.
As you can probably guess, our men's squad has not exactly matched up in recent years to such accolades.
Many argue that the nature of the game per gender is quite different, proposing that the competition at the male level is much higher, thus making it more difficult for them to fill their trophy case to an equal standard.
The issue, though, is not so much with the number of awards, but the number of patrons in the stands.
while the international federation of soccer is meant to protect the sport and carry out a number of jurisdiction apart from the equal pay issue, it is also a business.
Without revenue from game ticketing, jersey and product sales, and endorsement contracts, the federation doesn't exist. More specifically, if our teams don't bring in revenue, our jurisdiction doesn't exist.
That said, it is more than valid to take a look at patron metrics in an attempt to argue against pay differences.
The women's national team has become a spectacle to behold over the last decade. I myself can remember going to a game at Meadowlands stadium completely wide-eyed over talents like Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach.
I remember the energy, the comradery in the stadium, and most importantly, how absolutely crowded it was.
Seats have been filled at USWNT games for as long as I, a 24-year-old, can remember. And if you think for a moment you could argue my young memory, there are statistics to prove it.
In March of 2019, 28 USWNT players ended up filing a lawsuit against United States Soccer after years of battling the gender discrimination invoked by the association.
While this is one of the first viral public displays of the altercation between the team and the association, this fight has been going on for a long time.
A new book, aptly titled, "The National Team," sans gender identity and all, documents multiple attempts to ensure gender equality through equal pay and reveals negotiations that went on both during and after major victories by the women's team. Namely, the 2015 World Cup.
The riveting documentation goes deep into the mindsets of the team, explaining the release the team felt in winning the '15 World Cup, thinking they'd finally have the leverage needed to argue and win in pay negotiations.
Well, it's 2019, and the fight continues.
This team, this group of courageous women are giving #EqualPayDay an entirely new meaning. And we're happy to be here for the ride.