Discrimination Towards the United States Women’s National Team

The United States Women's National team has accomplished so much over time. The team has been able to obtain the World Cup title three times, they won it in 1991, 1999, and 2015. The women also have 5 Olympic medals, 4 gold and 1 silver. They also have seven CONCACAF Gold Cup wins and ten Algarve Cups. They are the best of the best, but are not treated like so. Although they have accomplished more than the United States Men’s National team, they are treated differently.

For one, the women’s national team does not receive the same accommodations that the men’s national team gets. The men’s national team most of the time gets to play in top notch fields with real grass, while the women mostly play in fields with artificial grass or synthetic turf. Playing on turf has its risks and what I have seen a lot with the women is that they suffer from a lot of turf burns which are caused by the artificial grass. They shake it off, but it shouldn’t be something they have to get accustomed to. Another thing would be that when the teams are traveling they receive like a daily allowance (USA Soccer Per Diem) and the women get $60 while the men get $75. The women receive $15 less and that is just a little ridiculous because why not just give them those $15 to make it even. The difference is not a lot, which is why it shouldn’t even exist, or if they aren’t willing to give the women those extra $15 then they should set the bar for both at $60. If the women can make it with $60 a day so can the men. One more way in which both teams differ would have to be in the traveling accommodations. The men travel in Business class while the women don’t. Some of these things may not be a huge deal to the women (materialistic wise) because in the end all they really want is to be treated equally.

“We continue to be told we should be grateful just to have the opportunity to play professional soccer, and to get paid for doing it. In this day and age, it’s about equality. It’s about equal rights, it’s about equal pay.” — Hope Solo

Now we move on to the most controversial part which has to do with the wage discrimination against the women’s team. The women do not earn the same salary as the men do. Women get paid about 1/4 of what the men earn. In the 2014 World Cup, the men’s team finished in 15th place and for that, the team received $9 million dollars. The women won the world cup in 2015 yet they [team] only received $2 million. Many critics say that women do not earn as much as the men do because people do not attend their games that much and also that they do not generate as much revenue as the men do. This may have been a valid point years ago, but now it is not like that. Last year the women generated about $20 million more than the men’s team yet they still got paid four times less than the men. Another thing is that whenever the men’s national team plays friendly games against other countries they get paid about $5,000 no matter what the outcome is, while the women HAVE to win in order to get some money out of it. Another example of such inequality is that “Among the numbers cited in the EEOC filing: The women would earn $99,000 each if they won 20 friendlies, the minimum number they are required to play in a year. But the men would likely earn $263,320 each for the same feat, and would get $100,000 even if they lost all 20 games. Additionally, the women get paid nothing for playing more than 20 games, while the men get between $5,000 and $17,625 for each game played beyond 20.” Things like these are not fair and that is why it’s amazing that the women’s team has filed a wage discrimination complaint in order to try and fight for equal pay. There are many more scenarios in which inequality exists, but those are just some.

“Every single day, we sacrifice just as much as the men. We work just as much. We endure just as much physically and emotionally. Our fans really do appreciate us every day for that. We saw that with the high of last summer. We’re really asking, and demanding now, that our federation, and our employer really, step up and appreciate us as well.”- Alex Morgan

The women’s team has many critics and people trying to bring them down, but they just keep their head up and go on with life. Many times they are objectified and it was once said, “that female soccer players would be more popular if they wore tighter shorts”, which is something that should not be said nor brought up because it is irrelevant. There are also those ignorant people who make comments along the lines of “they shouldn’t be playing soccer, they should be in the kitchen cooking”, or “they do not play well because they are women”. This is how we see inequality within gender. It is sort of like going back in time when only men could do almost about anything and women just did house work or what society at the time thought was “appropriate” for them. Could all these inequalities between the men and women be seen as a form of discrimination or is it just pure statistics? I really think that what these women, along with their supporters, are fighting for is huge for women and the world as a whole. The women’s national team puts just as much work as the men do and for them to not even be paid as much as half of what the men make is just sad, but I do believe all that will change. Women’s soccer is gaining more and more popularity over time and that will help them accomplish what they are fighting for. #EqualPlay.EqualPay.

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