Women have come a long way in the workplace, but there is still a long way to creating an atmosphere of fair compensation. While the arguments should be simple, they quickly get complex when employers start comparing the contributions of men versus women.
Professional soccer is no stranger to the debate over equal pay. In a suit that has been in progress since 2016, the Women’s National Team is fighting for equal pay for their skill on the field.
Here’s what you need to know about the argument the team is making to close the gap between them and the men.
The argument for equal pay for equal work seems like an easy one to make. After all, it resonates with a sense of fairness that we learn as children. A conversation about equal pay, particularly in sports, however, can turn into a debate of profit versus expenses.
Between the men’s and women’s national soccer teams, this used to be a tough argument to make. For many years, the men’s team had a larger fan base, performed well and brought in the most profit for the federation. Four years ago, everything changed. The consistent profit the men were bringing to the table changed in favor of the women’s team. Unfortunately, the women did not see the same bonuses as the men to go along with their wins on the soccer field.
A book of excuses
In other professions, employers will argue about job duties and the number of hours men put in compared to women. In soccer, however, the conditions and hours are the same, but the men still see significantly higher salaries.
There is no room for excuses for the pay disparity in women’s soccer. As they stated in their official complaint in 2016 when the lawsuit began, they play, “on the same size field; use the same size ball; have the same duration of matches and play by the same rules.”
Initially, the Federation intended the women’s pay structure to reward the women’s success on the field with higher pay. Now, as the women continue to succeed while the men are met with defeat, the pay disparity has become more transparent. Like women, men receive bonuses for significant wins. The problem, however, is that men also receive high salaries regardless of their performance on the field.
When the lawsuit concludes, the women hope to receive raises for their future contributions to the team as well as back pay and damages for themselves and former teammates from the last four years.