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US Women’s Soccer Kicks Unequal Pay

The US Women’s National Soccer team has set many standards in their sport. They’ve won three World Cups, four Olympic gold medals, and are now ratifying a new deal for increased pay.

Just last year, the women came forward to discuss their battle for equal pay with CBS News Norah O’Donnell on 60 Minutes. While no decision has been made about the EEOC complaint that  Becky SauerbrunnHope SoloAlex MorganMegan Rapinoe, and Carli Lloyd brought forward, this new contract marks a certain level of progress these women have made in their fight for equal pay.

The agreement includes increases in base pay and match bonuses, better per diem allowances, improved travel benefits, and increased financial support for players who are pregnant. Their new contract with the US Soccer Federation runs through 2021 and covers both the 2019 World Cup in France and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

After everything was announced, Alex Morgan came forward, excited about the progress they made in their negotiations. She said, “It felt very empowering because there is a whole issue going on in the country as far as equal pay and the fight for the gender pay gap. And I felt really happy with the agreement that we reached and the fact that we can now do what we came for and play soccer.”

A statement released by both US Soccer and the players said, “We believe this is another important step to continue our efforts to drive the growth of women’s soccer in the US. This agreement helps to ensure the strength of the women’s national team, provide stability and growth potential for the NWSL, and over time strengthen the elite player development process at the grassroots level. We believe our continued partnership will ensure a bright future for our sport for years to come.”

Rapinoe agrees that this contract is a huge step forward, but also knows they still have to keep the fight for equal pay alive.

I am incredibly proud of this team and the commitment we have shown through this entire process. While I think there is still much progress to be made for us and for women more broadly, I think the WNTPA should be very proud of this deal and feel empowered moving forward.”

Before a training session Rapinoe added, “This has been by far the most involved the team has been. And the most say that we’ve had in anything. The full group decision from a diverse group of voting members and I think that we’re excited that we have a deal. For me the best thing that came out of the deal is how it sets us up going into the future.” 

The soccer team’s fight might not be over, but they have certainly made significant progress for themselves and women everywhere.

Featured Image by Mohammad Talha Ghouri on Flickr
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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