The US women’s team beat Japan 5-2 in the World Cup final. Alarmingly, they were paid $2m against the $35m paid to Germany for winning the Men’s World Cup.
In addition, the US men’s team took home a cool $8m – four times as much as the women -despite only reaching the last-16 of the tournament.
As Mary Pilon writes, in an article published on Politico:
Pay for professional women’s soccer players is at best paltry and at worst outright shameful compared to those of their male counterparts.
She also highlights the incredible difference between the salaries of key male players, saying:
“The National Women’s Soccer League has salary ranges reportedly from $6,000 to $30,000, which in some cases may put players below the poverty line in the cities in which they compete. Each National Women’s Soccer League team operates with a salary cap of around $200,000, which is about how much David Beckham makes frying an egg (let alone bending one)”
New York politician Carolyn Maloney spoke out against the ‘discriminatory policy’ of against the US women’s team in a letter to the President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter:
“This year’s World Cup proved that women playing soccer can inspire a country and bring a crowd to its feet just as men can”, she writes, “But women will never achieve equality in the sport if FIFA itself discriminates against them….We have heard the excuses for centuries, but the time has come for change. I urge you to take a stand and commit to rewarding men and women equally for excellence on the field.”
So, why is the pay gap so large?
Well, some argue it’s not sexism but economics – that women have different bodies and abilities, so quite literally cannot play on the same field.
Others argue that the whole pay gap is a myth anyway – an argument very tricky to hold up when the gap is as cavernous as it is in sport right now.
Atlas published a graphic showing the startlingly obvious data, making this simple comparison: the minimum salary for a player in the National Women’s Soccer League is $6,842, compared with $60,000 for the men’s soccer league.
In the past, poor coverage of women’s sports has led to little advertising interest and sponsorship.
However, with the phenomenal win of the US women’s team hitting the news pages worldwide, isn’t it time to re-think how we treat women in sport?
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