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Gender bias lawsuit: America’s female soccer champs wage an off-field battle for higher pay

Look for more news about the World Cup winners. Summarize what's fresh.
Do you see coverage of another pay or equality dispute? What group or issue is involved?
Pick a photo of a woman doing something a grandmother might see as daring or pioneering.

The U.S. women's national soccer team earned a victory parade on Broadway in New York City last week to celebrate its latest World Cup championship. Now the 28 players look ahead to an off-field challenge in the legal arena – a fair-pay lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation that they filed in March. The case, currently before a federal mediator, claims "purposeful gender discrimination" because men's national team members earn more. "The bottom line is simple," says star defender Becky Sauerbrunn. "It is wrong for us to be paid and valued less for our work because of our gender." A union representing the male players says it "fully supports" the women's legal fight. Parade spectators last Wednesday in Manhattan chanted "equal pay, equal pay" as the champs rode by.

The women won their team's second straight world title with a 2-0 win over Dutch women July 7 in France. The U.S. squad has been ranked No.1 by the sport's international association for 10 of the last 11 years and has produced some of the biggest female sports stars of the last several decades. It has won four World Cups, while the U.S. men's team has won none. But female soccer players receive about $30,000 less in base salary than their male counterparts, and earn lower bonuses for reaching the World Cup. The suit also says U.S. Soccer invests less in their practice facilities, travel arrangements and medical support.

U.S. Soccer says women's matches typically bring in less revenue and lower TV ratings. But according to the federation's own figures, presented recently by the Wall Street Journal, the women had stronger ticket sales and generated more total revenue than the men in the three years after the women's 2015 World Cup victory. "The women are much more successful. They should earn more," a New York Times editorial says. "Pay gaps are a persistent problem in American society. The case of the national soccer teams is merely an unusually clear and public example."

Player says: "Everyone is kind of asking what's next and what we want to come of all of this. It’s to stop having the conversation about equal pay and are we worth it." -- Megan Rapinoe, speaking after final World Cup match

Congresswoman says: "We shouldn't even be asking for #EqualPay. . . . We should demand they be paid at least twice as much." – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., in tweet

Columnist writes: "Now the gentlemen at U.S. Soccer can explain to a lawsuit mediator . . . exactly why these women deserve less in performance bonuses and appearance fees than a men's team that has never won jack." – Sally Jenkins, The Washington Post

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for, Copyright 2020
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