U.S. Women’s Soccer Wins Equal Pay and $24 Million
Six years of conflict. A three-year lawsuit. A tireless fight. A $24 million payout.
On Tuesday, February 22, the U.S. women’s soccer team reached a $24 million settlement with the United States Soccer Federation, following a 2019 lawsuit over equal pay in which players alleged “institutional gender discrimination.” In addition, U.S. Soccer promised equal pay for men’s and women’s teams, including at the World Cup, the New York Times reported. That’s right: going forward, the soccer federation will not discriminate in pay based on gender.
What about that old claim, that women athletes just can’t be paid as much as men—that men are better, more popular? According to reports from BuzzFeed News in 2020, lawyers for U.S. soccer filed court documents during the suit that claimed “indisputable science” proves that the men’s team “requires a higher level of skill” than the women’s team.
The players of the U.S. Women’s National Team (U.S.W.N.T.) can’t hear those complaints over the sounds of their bank accounts filling up. The 61 players involved in the lawsuit will share $22 million. An additional $2 million will be put into an account to which the women will be able to apply to fund projects after their retirement from soccer.
Response so far from U.S. women players has been joyful. “I think we’re gonna look back on this day and say this is the moment that U.S. soccer changed for the better,” Megan Rapinoe said on Good Morning America, shortly after the agreement was announced. “Today is a great day and the work will always continue! ” tweeted Ali Krieger. “To those of us fighting tirelessly within our workplace for equity, equality and respect, thank u! I’m proud to be a part of this powerful group!”