This morning, the U.S. women’s national soccer team ratified an agreement with U.S. Soccer, the governing body that manages the sport. The deal, which came after a year of negotiations, was signed by the players and U.S. Soccer the day after Equal Pay Day.
That’s appropriate, given the inequity of the players’ previous deal. Soccer might not be as big a deal in the U.S. as it is in other countries around the world, but the women’s team is top-notch; they’ve won three World Cups and were ranked number one in the world from 2008 to 2014.
“Our men’s team, by comparison, is a work in progress,” wrote Sean Leslie at PayScale last year. “And progress is slow. The men haven’t enjoyed anywhere near the same level of success as the women — having never advanced further than the quarterfinals in any World Cup since 1930 — and consequently they don’t generate the same level of money; their projected revenue for 2017 is $9 million, a little more than half that of the women’s team.”
However, as of last year, the women’s team was making one-quarter of the pay earned by the men’s team.
What the Deal Includes
The New York Times reports that the agreement provides increased base pay and match bonuses, as well as improved working conditions, including travel arrangements and accommodations. Players will also have increased control over licensing and marketing, which could boost their earnings.
Some players could see their incomes double to between $200,000 and $300,000 per year. However, the agreement doesn’t guarantee equal pay with the men’s team. Instead it offers what some players have termed “equitable and fair pay” — and a path forward.
“We tried to completely change the methodology for how to define our value, and we made progress in that regard, and it changes the equation for the future,” said Becca Roux, the union’s executive director, in an interview with The Times.
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The collective bargaining agreement, which runs through 2021, will also provide improvements to facilities and mandate continued support for the players’ domestic league, the NWSL. However, the deal does not affect the EEOC complaint filed by five players last year. That complaint will proceed.
“I am incredibly proud of this team and the commitment we have shown through this entire process,” said midfielder Megan Rapinoe, in a statement. “While I think there is still much progress to be made for us and for women more broadly, I think the W.N.T.P.A. should be very proud of this deal and feel empowered moving forward.”
To learn more about why women earn less than men, no matter how you look at the data, read PayScale’s report, Inside the Gender Pay Gap.
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