After years of organizing against the gender pay gap and inadequate working conditions, the entire U.S. women’s national soccer team are suing the U.S. Soccer Federation over gender discrimination that they say is “institutionalized.”
On Friday, which just so happens to be International Women’s Day, 28 players sent a stern message to its parent federation: eradicate the practice of discriminating against women by paying them significantly less than players on the men’s team. Per the lawsuit, which was filed in California federal court, top female plays players could expect to earn just 38 percent of what a similarly situated man would earn. Furthermore, the complaints alleges that the discrimination is also reflected in quality of medical care the women receive, the conditions under which they work, and how they travel to matches.
This treatment is especially egregious, the complaint says, as the women’s national team’s “success on the field has translated into substantial revenue generation and profits for” the U.S. Soccer Federation — yet the men are paid significantly more. When the women won the World Cup in 2015, they were paid a total of $1.725 million in bonuses, per the suit; the year before, men were paid $5.375 million in bonuses after reaching round 16 in the Cup.
(The U.S. Soccer Federation has not commented on the lawsuit.)
As of now, the lawsuit includes current players, including stars like Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, but it seeks to gain class-action status so that past players can join. In a statement to the Associated Press, Morgan said that she and her team members are “extremely proud to wear the United States jersey,” but that there is a responsibility that comes with that privilege.
“We believe that fighting for gender equality in sports is a part of that responsibility,” she continued. “As players, we deserved to be paid equally for our work, regardless of our gender.”