Women Play for Less

No matter what you wear or what you decided to major in sometimes, wearing your woman’s skin will be reason enough to earn 72.73 percent less than men. The gender leadership gap and the difference in salaries between women and men is a reality. Yet, society sees sports as a field where only men succeed. The idea that men are better than women in soccer is inherently misogynistic and ignores facts. This idea is founded in an old-fashion society mindset where men play soccer and women are cheerleaders.

The U.S. men’s soccer team has only qualified for a world cup 10 times since 1930. Their best result was third place in 1930, nearly 90 years ago. The U.S. women’s soccer team has qualified for the World Cup 8 times since 1991; they have been champions three times — in 1991, 1999 and 2015 — in 28 years.

Those who argue that the U.S. men’s team brings in more revenues and therefore they should be funded accordingly do not acknowledge the gender-based discrimination against women on U.S. national soccer team. If internationally the women’s soccer teams were to receive the same payment and prizes as the men’s soccer teams, the revenues that women bring may be exponentially higher.

In 2014, men had a salary of $55,000 for making a team for the FIFA World Cup. Still, they got paid more than women who qualified and won the World Cup in 2015. Women earned $15,000 during 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, even though in 2015 they were champions.

The U.S. constantly violates its ideals of equality. The Declaration of Independence written by its founding fathers created the American identity based on fairness. Yet, it never created the means to reinforce it. American identity is built on a principle of equality that never existed: “All men are created equal”. Instead, there is a legacy of inequality, where women are expected to work harder and earn less. It is hard to believe that in 2019 a female soccer player — for winning a World Cup — earns 27.27 percent of what a male soccer player earns only for participating.

Women are currently taking action to eliminate the gender wage gap in soccer. Recently, the World Champion U.S women’s soccer team sued the federation for their acts of discrimination against women. Their complaints mainly focused on wages and general working conditions, actively fighting against gender discrimination. Yet, in other sports such as basketball, there is a growing gender wage gap.

Sylvia Fowles is a professional basketball player for the Minnesota Lynx of the Women’s National Basketball Association. She has been a champion in the WNBA twice, 3 times WNBA Defensive player of the year, and on 2016, she was awarded the Women’s National Basketball Association MVP. However, she earned only $109,000 for the 2017 season, when the average salary for an NBA player started at $550,000. LeBron James, on the other hand, who is a three times champion, in the period of 2017-2018 earned more than $30.9 million. How fair are sports in the U.S. when a woman who was considered the most valuable player gets paid 20% of what an average NBA player earns?

The American system has been created to marginalize women and to empower men. This system is only responsible for its results of inequality and gender discrimination. As Americans, the women from the U.S. soccer team call for the delivery of a promise of equality that was made 200 years ago by America’s founding fathers. Currently, the American identity of equality is only reflected in paper with no actions. This fight for gender equality goes beyond a salary, it uses the paradigm against itself. Does America stand for inequality, gender discrimination and racism? I bet most Americans would not identify themselves with those principles. Yet, America’s reality in sports, and many other fields, makes the reality contradicts the ideals.