The U.S. women’s national soccer team has renewed its fight for equal pay in sport. Despite having been refused by the national governing body, the team reportedly plans to wear temporary tattoos and messages on its shirts fighting for equal pay with their male counterparts.
According to The New York Times the women will begin with the messages—Equal Play Equal Pay—at an exhibition match in Chicago and will continue up to the Olympics. The goal is to put pressure on the U.S. Soccer Federation to make women’s pay similar to men’s pay.
The women point to massive pay disparities between the two sexes. The Wall Street Journal reports that in 2014 the men’s U.S. soccer team members made $9 million even though they only made it to the second stage of the World Cup. In 2015 the women, who won the World Cup trophy, were paid just $2 million. Furthermore, the women argue that while men receive a minimum of $5,000 for every game they play, no matter how many games or whether they win or lose (they can earn as much as $17,625 for a game depending on the circumstances), the women receive only the standard $4,950 for their regular games—win or lose—and nothing for extra games.
But the U.S. Soccer Federation says the pay disparity has to do more with compensation from club teams or the World Cup bonus structure, and is therefore not the U.S. federation’s fault. The federation also argues that there is more money in the men’s game. From 2008 to 2015, the men’s game raised almost three times the amount of revenue generated by the women’s game, and more than double the attendance, according to the federation.
The women’s team, however, has three World Cup titles and three Olympic gold medals. The men’s team has yet to win a World Cup title. The 2015 World Cup final received the best ratings ever in the U.S. for any soccer game. And, according to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint filed in March 2016, the women’s World Cup run brought in $20 million in revenue for U.S. Soccer. That complaint was filed by Carli Lloyed, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Hope Solo.
In May, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution calling on the U.S. Soccer Federation to “end gender pay inequity.” That resolution is non-binding, but it does add pressure to U.S. Soccer to rethink its pay structure. The hope of the women’s team is that the tattoos and shirts will put additional pressure on U.S. Soccer.