The U.S. women’s football team is the most successful team in women’s football history, winning World Cup titles in 1991, 1999, 2015, and 2019.
More than 50 United States (U.S.) Congress members led by Rep. Jackie Speier (D) and other leaders of the House Democratic Women’s Caucus, signed and sent a letter on July 3 to the president of the U.S. Football Federation, Carlos Cordeiro, demanding justifications for such differences in salaries between men and women players, among other issues.
“The United States women’s national football team (USWNT) is the most successful team in women’s football history, winning World Cup titles in 1991, 1999 and 2015, winning four Olympic gold medals, and holding the No. 1 ranking entering the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup,” said the letter, adding that “despite doing the same job as the U.S. Men’s National Team, USWNT players are receiving inferior wages, working conditions, and investment from U.S. football.”
The signatory members said that these women are facing indefensible injustices, including institutionalized gender discrimination within the U.S. football federation “starting with unequal pay and extending to training, travel, marketing, and promotion, as well as the availability of medical personnel and support staff.”
The three times champions received, for instance, US$1,725 million for winning the 2015 World Cup, which is three times less than what the men received for losing in the round of 16 in the same tournament. This, not to mention that a woman player’s base salary is US$30,000 less than her male counterpart’s and when it comes to bonuses, women’s income is 38 percent that of men’s.
“These disparities are particularly questionable given that U.S. women’s games generated more total revenue than men’s games over the last three years,” said the lawmakers adding the 2015 Women’s World Cup final had more views than any football match in U.S. history.
The U.S. women’s team has been fighting to end these inequities for years. In 2016, five members of the team along with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged the U.S. football federation for sexist discrimination. Three years later, in March, 28 members accused the Federation of “institutionalized gender discrimination,” a violation of both the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act.
The U.S. lawmakers requested clear answers from Cordeiro, to a list of questions, including the strategic plans he has to address the institutionalized gender discrimination problem and to promote and market the women’s team.
U.S. football federation did not make public comments but has reportedly agreed to begin a mediation process with USWNT after the end of the Women’s World Cup, which saw the team beat France for its fourth World Cup title.