The U.S. women’s national team kicked ass, took names, and shattered records in its first game of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, scoring more goals in a single game than the men’s national team has in the past four World Cups.
The reigning world champions began their journey to a potential fourth World Cup title with a stunning 13-0 victory over Thailand on Tuesday, but they face a tougher battle off the field in the fight for equal pay with their male counterparts.
Tuesday’s explosive World Cup debut brought the team’s fight back into the spotlight, and many Democratic lawmakers signaled their support for the team.
“When our women won the world soccer cup, they got less of a bonus then the men did for coming into the round of 16,” Schumer said in a video posted to his Twitter on Tuesday. “And so today, I’m asking that Leader McConnell put on the floor the pay equity bill, which passed the House, which says men should be paid the same as women, women should be paid the same as men for the same work. Whether it’s soccer, being a carpenter, being a doctor, or anything else.”
Watch the video below:
Dear @SenateMajLdr McConnell:
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) June 11, 2019
Schumer has a point. The U.S. men’s national team raked in $9 million for losing in the round of 16 in the 2014 World Cup. The women’s team received only $2 million for winning the entire tournament.
This year’s earnings can’t even be compared to the men’s because the men’s team didn’t qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
Of course, men’s soccer on an international level brings in boatloads more revenue than women’s soccer.
But nationally, recent trends are seeing the opposite happen. In 2016, the New York Times found that the women’s national team brought in more revenue than the men’s team.
In 2015, the women’s team brought in a $6.6 million profit, while the men’s team’s profit was under $2 million. In 2016, a lawsuit from women players arguing for equal pay estimates they brought in a profit of $17.7 million.
But on a national level, the women are still paid much less. The New York Times reported this week that the minimum salary for professional women’s soccer in the U.S. is $16,538 a year, while men’s minimum salary is about $50,00 a year.
In those profit-generating years for the national team, the pay gap for individual players was monumental. A recent lawsuit brought forth by women’s players for equal pay found that male players earned an average of $263,320 for 20 exhibition games a year from 2013 to 2016, while women earned a maximum of $99,000.
But women were still paid less, even for doing more work. Because of their dominance in competitions, the women’s team played 19 more games than the men’s team did from 2015 to 2018.
All of that play led to stunning results. The women have three World Cup titles and four Olympic gold medals. The U.S. women’s team was also home to the two top goal scorers in all of soccer, men’s or women’s, Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach.
Those results continued Tuesday. The 13-0 game broke the record for the highest scoring game in all of World Cup history, men’s or women’s.
For some lawmakers, that was more than enough proof that the women deserved equal compensation.
Here's an idea: If you win 13-0—the most goals for a single game in World Cup history—you should be paid at least equally to the men's team.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) June 11, 2019
As the U.S. Women’s National Team takes the field against Thailand today, the players are also fighting to be paid equally. Let’s not forget the fight off the field. It’s time we pay our USWNT equally. https://t.co/KHqBcFB9RW
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 11, 2019
The @USWNT is #1 in the world & contributes higher revenues for @USSoccer than the men’s team, but they’re still paid a fraction of what the men earn. Women deserve equal pay for equal (or better!) work in offices, factories, AND on the soccer field. https://t.co/ftOSrjRyOE
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) June 11, 2019
Wishing the U.S. women’s national soccer team the best of luck today as they start the World Cup. I’m proud of this team for what they’ve achieved both on and off the field. I stand with these reigning world champions and their demand for equal pay with the men’s national team.
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) June 11, 2019
Yesterday was the anniversary of the #EqualPayAct. Today, the @USWNT heads to their 1st game in their 4th #WorldCup, while still earning less than their male counterparts. I stand with our women on their way to victory on the field & in court. #BeFierce https://t.co/wkykABKhyx
— Rep. Deb Haaland (@RepDebHaaland) June 11, 2019
Congrats #USWNT on that record-breaking 13-0 win today!🚨⚽️
My breakdown of the score:
– 13 more reasons why they deserve equal pay.
– 0 excuses for why this should not happen.
— Linda T. Sánchez (@RepLindaSanchez) June 11, 2019
As if there weren't enough reasons the USWNT deserves #EqualPay, they just gave us 13 more.
— Rep. Susan Wild (@RepSusanWild) June 11, 2019
The USWNT hits the field again on Sunday in a match against Chile.