Today, we start with smaller as the word to remember. In 1991, the Women’s World Cup soccer team bus was smaller than the men’s, the women earned much less, and the rules required that they play with a smaller ball than the men. I suspect though that their uniforms were not smaller because they wore hand-me-downs from the men.
Now 31 years after the 1991 World Cup that the women won, we can finally replace smaller with equal.
After the game, fans chanted equal pay:
The Women’s World Cup Soccer Lawsuit
The women formally challenged the inequity in 2016. Filing a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, they said they were paid far less than the men. In fact, as World Cup champions (which the men were not) they had attracted 23.5 million viewers during their 2015 finals game against Japan.
Then they took the next big step in 2019.
Through a document filed with a United States District Court in Los Angeles, the team alleged violations of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII. Pay, turf, travel, and promotions dominated the 114 items they listed. The women’s pay, their bonuses, their championship money all were less than the men got, even when the men had a losing season.
You get the picture. But sadly in a 2020 setback, a judge did not.
Star player Megan Rapinoe responded to the judge’s decision:
The women finally won. According to the February settlement announcement, $22 million will go to the women players (USWNT). Even more crucial than the amount though is the commitment to future equal pay. Still, the last step was a CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) that equalizes World Cup bonuses.
It’s now a done deal.
While there are lots of details, essentially, we can say that that the men and women will split the World Cup bonus pools and they will have a salary and bonus and revenue sharing structure that are basically the same. The main differences appear to relate to unique issues like child care. The agreement starts on June 1 and ends during 2028.
Our Bottom Line: Discrimination
While celebrating a soccer victory, we can recognize that discrimination continues:
The Gallup data from their June-July 2021 survey indicate that “women’s satisfaction with societal treatment of their gender is historically low.”
My sources and more: This ESPN article was the perfect women’s World Cup Soccer lawsuit update. In addition, my recent facts came from The Washington Post while National Geographic and NPR, here and here, had more of the history. And finally, Gallup confirms that discrimination is still here. (Our featured image is from Doug Mills/NY Times.)