This Is a Big Victory for the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team

This Is a Big Victory for the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team

Scrolling through my news feed yesterday, I finally found a headline to smile about: After more than a year of fighting for more equitable wages, the U.S. women’s soccer team finally scored a deal they deserve, including higher salaries, larger bonuses and better travel and maternity benefits. Besides this being a feel-good victory for women in general — and so soon after Equal Pay Day — as someone who has avidly followed the team for years, I was extra excited to see this news.

While I’ve always been a fan of the sport and this team (thanks to about 10 years spent in cleats and shin guards), their popularity soared as they defeated team after team in the 2015 World Cup. Their championship match against Japan was the most-watched soccer match in U.S. history. Ever. Taylor Swift even brought players out on stage during her ‘1989’ world tour (the day before I was there, I might add. Definitely not bitter).

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But the elation I felt that this powerhouse group of ladies was finally getting the recognition they deserved was soon replaced with flat-out anger when it was revealed how little they were paid compared to their male counterparts. And unlike the men’s team, the women were actually winning.

The prize for their World Cup victory was $2 million. The men’s team, on the other hand, won $8 million after losing in round 16 of the 2014 World Cup. In the complaint filed against U.S. Soccer in 2016, the women’s team said their earnings were only about 40% of those of the men’s.

While this new deal still doesn’t mean the women’s team will earn completely equal pay, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. The agreement, which runs through 2021, will be in effect through the 2019 World Cup and 2020 Olympics. "While I think there is still much progress to be made for us and for women more broadly, I think the WNTPA should be very proud of this deal and feel empowered moving forward," said midfielder Megan Rapinoe in a statement.

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