Five of the U.S. women's football team have filed a federal complaint to the Equal Opportunity Quality Commission, adding to an age-old issue that has never been put right.
The two co-captains, Carli Lloyd and Becky Sauerbrunn, forward Alex Morgan, midfielder Megan Rapinoe and goalkeeper Hope Solo decided that enough was enough, filing the complaint against the U.S. Soccer Federation.
In their complaint, the players referred to the USSF figures from last year showing that they were paid nearly four times less than their male counterparts. This is clearly an unfair wage split, especially as the women's team generates much more revenue in America.
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America has been leading the way for women's football for many years and is seen as the place to go if you are a female looking for a career in football.
The U.S. women's team is also the best in the world, after they became world champions last summer beating Japan 5-2 in the final of the FIFA Women's World Cup.
Due to this recent success, the players feel like this is the time to take action.“I think the timing is right. I think we’ve proven our worth over the years, just coming off a World Cup win,” Lloyd told NBC’s Matt Lauer.
The EOCC is now launching an investigation into this unequal pay structure, but this is a topic not solely attached to football.
This subject has also been in the limelight of the tennis world recently. The debate was sparked after the former director of the Indian Wells tennis competition, Ray Moore resigned for his comments which suggested female tennis players “should get on their knees” and be thankful for the men’s game boosting the female profile in the sport.
Since the comments were made, the game's big players have had their say. Controversially world number one Novak Djokovic has said he feels the wage split should be in favour of male players due to superior ticket sales and TV viewings.
However, Andy Murray and Serena Williams have publicly disagreed with the Serb. Williams' views were clear: “I have been playing since the age of two and it would be shocking to say my son would deserve more than my daughter. It is irrelevant. Novak is entitled to his opinion but if he has a daughter – I think he has a son right now – he should talk to her and tell her how his son deserves more money because he is a boy."
Not just a sporting issue!
This is an ongoing problem which started when women first started to enter the workplace and continues to this day. The problem is not just specific to sport and has become a global issue.
Equal Pay in the City is an organisation focused on bringing equal pay to the city of London, looking specifically at the pay gap in the economy sector.
They estimate that women in this sector - working in London, are paid an average of 33% less than men doing the same job.
The Equal Pay Act was founded in 1970 but since 2010, the law on equal pay has been set out in the ‘equality of terms’ provisions of the Equality Act 2010.
This act formed was a step in the right direction, however, some employers are still getting away with paying women less than men for doing the same, or an even better, job.
The U.S. women's team is certainly setting a good example and hopefully, they will send out a lesson to the USSF and the rest of the world.