The US Women’s National Team got past the small test in winning the World Cup. Now comes the hard part: getting equal pay.
Equal pay has been a talking point that’s surrounded the women’s team for years and continued to circulate throughout the tournament. The US, which won the title Sunday after a 2-0 win against the Netherlands, was serenaded with a loud and powerful “equal pay” chant shortly after winning their fourth World Cup title, the most in the sport.
“I think everyone is ready for this conversation to move to the next step,” US captain Megan Rapinoe said after Sunday’s win, according to The Guardian. “I think we’re done with: ‘Are we worth it, should we have equal pay, is the market the same?’ Yada yada.
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“Everyone’s done with that; fans are done with that, players are done with that. In a lot of ways, I think sponsors are done with that. Let’s get to the next point. What’s next? How do we support women’s federations and women’s programs around the world? What can Fifa do to do that? What can we do to support the leagues around the world?” she said, having rocked into the press conference late, exclaiming “I just killed doping!”
Before the tournament, the members of the US women’s team sued the US Soccer Federation for gender discrimination. They cited wages and working conditions that were not equal to the men’s national team, which has won zero World Cups and comes off missing the World Cup in 2018 and a Gold Cup finals loss against Mexico Sunday.
“At this moment of tremendous pride for America, the sad equation remains all too clear, and Americans won’t stand for it anymore. These athletes generate more revenue and garner higher TV ratings but get paid less simply because they are women,” Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the USWNT players in their equal pay lawsuit, told CNN. “It is time for the Federation to correct this disparity once and for all.”
On a global scale, there are immeasurable differences between the men’s and women’s game that expands to different countries. While some like Norway have made strides for equality, the prize money between men’s and women’s World Cups vary drastically. The men’s prize money topped at $400 million in 2018, but for the women’s installment this month in France, the players’ pot was significantly smaller at just $30 million this year.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who was booed by fans during Sunday’s final, said last week that FIFA was looking at doubling the women’s tournament prize money for 2023.
“It certainly is not fair,” said Rapinoe before the final. “We should double it now and use that number to double it or quadruple it for the next time. That’s what I mean when we talk about, ‘Do we feel respected?’”
Rapinoe, who won the Golden Boot award as the tournament’s leading scoring, questioned whether FIFA actually cared enough.
“If you really care, are you letting the gap grow? Are you scheduling three finals on the same day? No, you’re not,” Rapinoe said, referring to the Concacaf Gold Cup and Copa America final, all held on Sunday. “Are you letting federations have their teams play two games in the four years between each tournament? No, you’re not,” Rapinoe said. “That’s what I mean about the level of care, you need attention and detail and the best minds that we have in the women’s game, helping it grow every single day.”