As the 2019 United States’ women’s soccer season comes to an end, it is no surprise to many that the powerful women on the field have taken another World Cup victory. The incredible accomplishments of these women have been history making and worldwide news, but not for the reasons you would expect. Not because of their unbelievable soccer skills nor the passion they demonstrate towards the sport but because of the amount they are paid.
As I was browsing women’s soccer news online post-victory, I, of course, came across articles about the team’s fight for equal pay. Surprisingly, a common claim I found was that the women’s soccer team actually makes more money than the men’s team.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: you’re joking, right?
That’s exactly what I thought before I read into the claims of these articles. It turned out that this idea of women being paid more is not just misleading but is also not true.
As I read into the subject extensively, I learned that women are paid a larger percentage of the overall prize money than the men, but only by a couple of percentage points. However, the vast differences in the total prize money between the two U.S. teams is significant and cannot be ignored, the prize money for the men’s World Cup is hundreds of millions of dollars more than the women’s World Cup money, making the actual dollars paid to the women’s team vastly less.
Now, after discovering the twisting of the truth by the various online magazines, I was angry. Why were these articles allowed to take such a pressing subject out of context, simply to prove those advocating for the women’s soccer team wrong?
Personally, the most frustrating aspect of these articles centered around the fact that it appeared that the purpose of these articles was not to educate or to shed light on a trending subject, but to belittle a group of people advocating for an equal pay in their industry. It is ridiculous to think that even after a World Cup win, the home country of the winning team rejects the victors’ fight for equal pay and shames them for advocating for themselves, instead of being proud of the team and standing with them in their fight for equality.
Labeling the US Women’s Soccer Team as money-hungry and unappreciative is no way to treat a team that has raised the standards for the World Cup across all platforms. The fight for equal pay has been a theme throughout American history, and the US Women’s Soccer Team’s fight is just one instance of women fighting back, only to be confronted by ignorance and outdated ideals. Shaming has no place in the fight for equal pay, especially when those having to fight are demonstrating the unequaled passion and success in their field.
Statements on this blog reflect the author’s personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix or YWCA USA. Blog entries are meant to spark individual reflection and community conversations on issues of racial justice and gender equality.