Outspoken athletes like Megan Rapinoe have long been advocates for equal pay as female athletes in U.S. soccer have historically been paid less than their male counterparts. Today marks an important day in this fight.
Rapinoe and many of her teammates have been fighting for equal pay for many years, citing their 1991, 1999, 2015, and 2019 World Cup wins and their bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The issue became a national conversation in which athletes like Rapinoe raised awareness of the so-called gender wage gap and demanded to be paid the same amount of money as male athletes. Yesterday, their dream came true.
The U.S. Soccer Federation Announces It Will Offer "True Equal Pay"
The U.S. Women's National Team and U.S. Men's National Team will officially be paid the same amount, per a collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) reached by the U.S. Soccer Federation, the United States Women's National Team Players Association, and the United States National Soccer Team Players Association. This agreement stipulates that both teams will pool and share prize money from the FIFA World Cup, when previously $2.5 million would have gone to the men's team and $750,000 would have gone to the women's team. This agreement will last through December 2028.
"For the first time ever, U.S. Soccer, the USWNTPA and the USNSTPA came together to jointly agree upon first-of-their-kind CBAs that achieve true equal pay, including FIFA World Cup prize money. U.S. Soccer is the first Federation in the world to achieve this goal," the CBA fact sheet read.
The teams will have "identical" working conditions and financial components, "including appearance fees and game bonuses, prize money, commercial revenue share and more."
"I feel a lot of pride for the girls who are going to see this growing up, and recognize their value rather than having to fight for it. However, my dad always told me that you don't get rewarded for doing what you're supposed to do – and paying men and women equally is what you're supposed to do," U.S. player Margaret Purce told the Associated Press. "So I'm not giving out any gold stars, but I'm grateful for this accomplishment and for all the people who came together to make it so."
Even President Biden's Twitter account commented on the matter. "I'm proud of you for never giving up and I commend @ussoccer for agreeing to do the right thing," he tweeted. "Let's keep up the fight until we close the gender pay gap in every industry."
Men's and women's sports have always garnered different levels of support and interest, which results in different levels of pay. But this isn't being addressed. It would be interesting to hear how much more money the men's soccer team generates compared to the women's team in regards to ticket sales, merchandise, etc. Just about anybody can tell that men's soccer is much more popular than women's. Regardless of what those numbers are, this will be celebrated as a major win for female soccer players.