July 17, 2019
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Listen to Trump, look at the numbers and give US women’s soccer a raise

David Vincent | AP
David Vincent | AP
U.S. players celebrate their victory in the Women's World Cup final soccer match between U.S. and The Netherlands at the Stade de Lyon in Decines, outside Lyon, France, on Sunday, July 7, 2019. US won 2-0.

The women’s national soccer team gave us one more reason to celebrate over Fourth of July weekend. And U.S. Soccer should give them a raise.

The American women capped a dominant showing at this year’s World Cup in France with a 2-0 win on Sunday over the Netherlands, bringing home a second-consecutive title and leaving little doubt about the sustained greatness of the U.S. women’s national team. They also added to their already compelling case in the ongoing debate about equal pay within the U.S. Soccer Federation.

In March, the entire women’s team filed a discrimination lawsuit, alleging “institutionalized gender discrimination” from the federation.

“A comparison of the WNT and MNT pay shows that if each team played 20 friendlies in a year and each team won all 20 friendlies, female WNT players would earn a maximum of $99,000 or $4,950 per game, while similarly situated male MNT players would earn an average of $263,320 or $13,166 per game against the various levels of competition they would face,” the lawsuit reads, as reported by the Associated Press.

While the union for the men’s team supported the push for equal pay, it has been met by resistance from U.S. Soccer, which argued that any difference in compensation is due to a difference in revenues. However, the women and the federation have since agreed to enter mediation.

Asked about the pay equity issue following Sunday’s victory, President Donald Trump offered support for the general idea of the women’s and men’s teams making the same amount, with a caveat.

“I would like to see that, but you’ve also got to look at numbers … you have to look at who’s taking in what,” Trump said, according to Fox News, adding that we should “see how they’re performing.”

Trump is right — as this conversation continues, we should look at the numbers.

A recent report from the Wall Street Journal detailed how the U.S. women’s team has been outearning the men’s team for the past several years. Since the women won the last World Cup in 2015, their games have generated more total revenue. That’s according to the federation’s own financial reports.

Consider that recent revenue comparison, throw in back-to-back World Cup wins, and it’s pretty clear the arithmetic calls for a more equitable compensation approach.

Globally, the men’s World Cup is still wildly more profitable than the women’s competition. There’s no doubt about that. But there’s also no doubt that, here in America, our women are outperforming — and now, at least by some measures — outraising their male counterparts. Their pay should reflect that reality. It’s a complicated conversation because of the way that performance bonuses are awarded and individual team revenues are measured, but it’s a necessary one.

World Cup bonuses, for example, are handed out by the international body, FIFA, and not the national organization. And it’s difficult to separate the men’s and women’s broadcasting and sponsorship revenues for U.S. Soccer.

“I don’t know how you quantify that,” a Fox executive told the Wall Street Journal. “But right now the shining star of U.S. Soccer is the U.S. women’s national team. These women are heroes, and I think that carries great value.”

We agree.

 



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