According to the Associated Press, on Feb. 22, the U.S. women’s soccer team reached a historic $24 million settlement in a discrimination dispute, as well as a commitment to equilize pay and bonuses after years of battling for equal earnings.
“The $24 million equal pay settlement was a huge win for the U.S women’s national team and their drive to win it brought people’s attention all over the world to see how prevalent this issue is,” said freshman Miriam Shomstein, center midfielder for the women’s soccer team. “Although it was a win, there still has to be a lot more exposure to women’s sports to truly reach gender equity.”
According to the Associated Press, “The legal battle began when five American stars sued three years after filing a complaint in April 2016 seeking damages under the federal Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.”
“However, the players will now split $22 million as well as form an agreement with U.S. Soccer to establish $2 million to benefit players in their post-soccer careers and charitable efforts aimed at growing the sport for women,” reported the Associated Press.
Some athletes at Sacred Heart feel that this settlement will set a new tone for gender equality for women involved in any sport, not only soccer.
“I honestly feel that it has taken a lot to get where we are today with the gender wage gap for women athletes and women in general,” said junior Nichol Green, midfielder for the women’s soccer team. “In society today, I think that we are truly seeing change, and the settlement with the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team is a reflection of that.”
While many women’s teams continue to be paid less than their male counterparts, some have brought up comparisons of win-loss percentages between the two teams to question the wage gap.
According to the Associated Press, “The U.S. Soccer Federation has until now based bonuses on payments from FIFA, which earmarked $400 million for the 2018 men’s tournament and $30 million for the 2019 women’s tournament. However, the U.S. women have won four World Cups since the program’s start in 1985, while the men haven’t reached a semifinal since 1930.”
“After growing up watching the U.S. team win year after year as well as out playing the men’s team, it was becoming frustrating to see women still fighting for their equal pay,” said Green. “I think that this will set the tone for others to manage their pay equality gaps between genders in a sports setting.”
The settlement was a victory for female athletes, but some say there are still many hurdles to overcome.
“This isn’t something that will be changed overnight, but there are small ‘wins’ happening daily,” said Kristen Habbel, Assistant Director of Athletic Communications. “The settlement that the U.S. team came to is a very big win, but that didn’t happen without the smaller ones along the way.”