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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: If anything, women soccer stars deserve more pay than their male counterparts

This world just isn’t the same as it used to be.

For multiple reasons women are present in the workforce now more than ever before; yet despite all the hard work they’re putting into their jobs, the wage gap between men and women persists.

The statistic is shocking: on average, women are only making 76 cents for every dollar made by men. It may not seem like much, but look at that number through the context of 40 hours of work — a typical week’s worth — at a $10 per hour job. A man will have made $400, while his female counterpart will only have made $304.

This is one of the greatest examples of gender discrimination that still exists in the present day, and it’s an issue affecting even some of the most well-known women in the country: the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team. Five members of the team are suing U.S. Soccer’s governing board on allegations of wage discrimination.

The women are the literal best team in the world, as decided by the 2015 World Cup. The tournament’s entire prize pool was worth $15 million, and for their victory the women earned only $2 million. In stark contrast, the U.S. men’s team, who was knocked out in the first round of their most recent World Cup appearance, took home $9 million of the $576 million.

So what’s this all about? Why exactly is the women’s team, who very obviously out-performed the men’s team, being paid so much less?

A lot of people toss the word “revenue” into the argument. Since men bring in more revenue — over four-year World Cup cycles, at least, but the women’s World Cup win made them the real breadwinners in 2015 — for U.S. Soccer than women do, perhaps that justifies the wage gap a little. If one employee was securing more customers than another employee and making more money for their boss, wouldn’t the employee bringing in more customers deserve some sort of reward?

Maybe, but this isn’t actually the case in all sports. In figure skating, a sport in which women bring in more revenue than men, prize money is distributed equally among the genders for the sake of fairness. The sport’s pay isn’t determined by revenue differences between genders.

U.S. Soccer should absolutely treat the Women’s National Team the same way — if not better, since the women actually out-performed the Men’s National Team.

Another argument against the women is popularity. Since sports have historically been viewed as a male activity, men’s teams have always had larger fanbases than women’s teams and should benefit monetarily from that discrepancy.

The 2015 Women’s World Cup, however, broke the record for most-watched soccer match in the U.S., for men or women. The argument that women get paid less because their sport is less popular just doesn’t hold up. While it may be true in other sports that women don’t draw as much viewership as their male counterparts, women’s soccer currently seems to be more popular in the U.S. than men’s. If you think it’s all about popularity, you’re going to need a new argument to justify paying these women drastically less.

No matter the argument proposed as a defense of U.S. Soccer for its wage gap, it just isn’t possible to justify the current size of that gap. The men didn’t even make it through the first match of their tournament, and Americans have never tuned in to watch the men’s team with the numbers that watched the women in 2015, yet they’re being paid millions of dollars more?

It’s absolutely unfair. It’s absolutely discrimination.

Women have been fighting for centuries for equality. Even when a female does something with a higher degree of success than a male, there are people who refuse to acknowledge my gender for its success. There will always be people who think the most successful woman is worth less than the least successful man.

I’ll never agree with those people.

If a woman is going to go out there, put in the education or effort that it takes to excel in life, and does excel, she should not be paid any less than a man who does the same thing. If a woman like Carli Lloyd is going to score a goal from midfield and help bring her team to victory in the World Cup, then for goodness’ sake, she deserves to be paid a wage at least equal to that of a male soccer player.

It’s as simple as that. If a woman is performing just as well — if not better — than a man, she should be making just as much — if not more — money than a man. 


Follow Rhiannon Bauer on Twitter.


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