FOR THE WEEK OF APR 01, 2019
New federal case: Female stars accuse U.S. Soccer Federation of chronic pay gap and other gender bias
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Top U.S. women's soccer players kick back against what they say is bias. A federal lawsuit by all 28 members of the United States Women's National Team accuses the U.S. Soccer Federation of "institutionalized gender discrimination" that existed for years. This month's court move in Los Angeles follows a complaint to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which last month said players can sue.
Players say they're required to play more games than the men and win more of them, and yet still earn less from the federation. The case also refers to playing surfaces, travel conditions, game promotion, coaching and medical support. The high-profile dispute involves such stars as Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd. They and teammates are among the globe's most accomplished, prominent female athletes. The Women's National Team, which this summer defends its World Cup title at a tournament in France, has dominated the sport for more than a generation.
The court challenge, which claims a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, has an impact beyond soccer, as The New York Times lays out: "The players' continuing battle with U.S. Soccer – which is not only their employer, but also the federation that governs the sport in America – has thrust them to the forefront of a broader fight for equality in women’s sports." Notably, their backers include the U.S. Men's National Team, It proposes a revenue-sharing setup where the women would earn more in years they bring in more revenue. Tennis great Serena Williams also salutes the fighters: "At some point, in every sport, you have to have those pioneers, and maybe it's the time for soccer. I'm playing because someone else stood up, and so what they are doing right now is hopefully for the future of women's soccer."
Player says: "We've always — dating back to forever — been a team that stood up for itself and fought hard for what it felt it deserved and tried to leave the game in a better place." – Megan Rapinoe of Seattle
Court filing says: "If both the men's and the women's teams were to win 20 non-tournament matches, the men would earn on average $263,320—a little more than $13,000 per game, while the average women's team player would earn a maximum of $99,000, which equals a little less than $5,000 per game."
Blogger says: "All of us have the chance now to support another push toward progress. . . . I urge you: Stop asking why women deserve equal pay, and ask why they still have to keep fighting for it." – Susie Rantz, Seattle writer, at a Vox Media sports blog
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