The Raider Review

Opinion: #EqualPlayEqualPay

Maya Whaley, Photo Editor and Staff Writer

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In 2015, the U.S. women’s national soccer team, also known as the USWNT, defeated Japan to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup. It was the first World Cup victory for the USWNT since 1999, and furthermore redemption from the team’s 2011 loss to Japan.

The 2015 final against Japan brought in over 25 million viewers, the most of any soccer game in U.S. history. But amid this success, the female players felt that they were not treated equally compared to their male counterparts, and rightfully so.

For starters, female national soccer team members have to play on artificial turf, which some players argue is more dangerous than playing on grass. In 2015, players went as far as refusing to play an exhibition game in Hawaii because of artificial turf. USWNT members also deal with a gap in wages compared to their male counterparts. According to Sports Illustrated, a female player could make $15,000 for making a World Cup roster, but a male player could make $68,750 for the same success. Not to mention that the men’s national soccer team has never won a World Cup.

The fight for equal pay prompted a lawsuit by the USWNT against the U.S. Soccer Federation. As of April 2017, the players and the U.S. Soccer Federation ratified their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) through 2021, which included increased pay.

The USWNT served as inspiration for the women’s national hockey team when they challenged their treatment by USA Hockey in March of 2017.

The women’s national hockey team, which is ranked number one in the world, faced similar pay disparities between the female and the male players as the USWNT. Players threatened to sit out the International Ice Hockey World Championship games. The players argued that they did not receive the same pay or support from USA Hockey as did their male counterparts, asking for $68,000 and benefits such as child care. After a week of negotiations, the players and USA Hockey agreed on a new four year labor agreement.

The measures both national teams have taken speak volumes to the determination of women in America to combat gender discrimination. These measures aren’t in vain, as they’ve not only proven to yield results, but also serve as an inspiration for young girls and even women in the workplace.

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Opinion: #EqualPlayEqualPay