Kicking Out Gender Inequality

U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Wins $24 Million Lawsuit Against U.S. Soccer


Photo by Aahana Mulchandani

The USWST settled their 6-year long fight about equal payment. This was a monumental and historical win for not only the soccer team, but for women across the globe working in fields filled with gender inequality.

Aahana Mulchandani, Reporter

For the past six years, the National women’s soccer team has fought for equal treatment and also requested equal pay. Finally, as of February 22nd, the United States Women’s National Team, or USWNT, settled on a $24 million dollar settlement. According to CNN, the money will be split so that $22 million will go to the players involved in the case and the other $2 million will go into an account to sponsor previous USWNT athletes in their post-career goals as well as charitable efforts related to women’s and girls’ soccer.

They completely deserve this win, as equal payment and treatment should be a given. In the sports world, every athlete should be at their best in order to compete and perform to the best of their abilities. Why should women be paid less either, as they’ve wracked up more awards than the men, winning the FIFA Women’s World cup four times while the men’s’ team came third. That in itself shows how skilled the women’s team are, and winners should be paid accordingly.

Not only that, it is so unfair how the USWNT has so many accomplishments, being one of the powerhouses of the Women’s Soccer World, and yet they’re still faced with less payment. According to the Seattle Times, the USWNT has already made so many accomplishments, such as winning four out of eight Women’s World Cups, including the ones in 2015 and 2019.  The women were paid 10 million dollars less than the male team, even considering that they have more achievements than the male team.

Toxic culture has also been a huge issue, as the former US Soccer Federation president, Carlos Codeiro, stepped down due to establishing his opinion about how the women’s soccer team had less physical ability than the men’s soccer team. According to ESPN, Codeiro’s legal filing entailed that the filing argued the “indisputable science” that the players on the women’s team were inferior when compared to the male teams. In response, the women’s team wore their warm up jerseys inside out during their game with Japan at the SheBelieves Cup Finals, attempting to block out the US Soccer logo, according to Time Magazine.

That is the most passive way to protest, and it was absolutely perfect. They are wordlessly saying that they’re angry and upset with the ex-president’s filing. At least the former president stepped down due to the public’s anger with the misogyny that was revealed. That in itself is one step closer to putting people who are sexist out of power and allowing women more rights.

I find that the most interesting part in all this, is that by settling the lawsuit, the US Soccer Board is admitting that it is paying women less than men. It’s astonishing that the lawsuit even lasted this long, as there is so much evidence that suggests that the women teams get less pay than the men teams, so it was surprising to me that it lasted for so long. 

The payment systems, how they receive money, for the men and women’s team are different, too. According to Time Magazine, as well as another article written by USA Today, the female team has a base salary of $100,000 and can earn bonuses based on game performance. Firstly, why do the payment systems need to be different in the first place? That already shows inequality. Secondly, “game performance”? The women’s soccer team, as stated before, already has a lot of accomplishments so what do they mean based on game performance? By their logic, they should be getting paid more than the male teams. It’s unfair that they have so many achievements, but they don’t get paid more than men when their “game performance” is much better than the male teams. What makes this more infuriating is that the male teams are not given an annual base salary, but they do get larger bonuses, as well as a $5,000 payment guarantee even if they lose.

For the youth, this will create a large impact. Their futures could be changed, especially up-and-coming players who want to join the USWNT. They wouldn’t have to fight for equality, as the payment systems are different as of now with the lawsuit ending, and hopefully they will have a more enjoyable experience playing. Not only that, it’s inspiring for young girls and other athletes who can relate to being treated unequally, and encourage them to speak up and persevere to make changes.

This lawsuit is liberating in a way, as this is another step toward gender equality. This win was well deserved, despite women having to fight for so long, but their perseverance made it all happen. Despite gender inequality and the sexism involved in this, they prevailed in the end.