After the recent tennis controversy where Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore had to step down after his sexist comment that women’s tennis had been riding on the ‘cottails’ of men’s tennis, comes news of another sports gender battle.
Five of the biggest stars on the world champion U.S. women’s national soccer team allegedly accused the U.S. Soccer Federation of pay discrimination on Wednesday. Their bone of contention? That they take home a paltry sum as compared to the men, sometimes as little as 40 percent. This despite the U.S. women’s team’s brilliant performance on the field, greater achievements (like last year the team’s third World Cup championship) and higher anticipated revenue. The case is submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination, and has sparked off the debate of gender discrimination. [Feature Image Courtesy: s.street.com]
The players – Captain Carli Lloyd, Goalkeeper Hope Solo, Midfielder Megan Rapinoe, Defender Becky Sauerbrunn and Striker Alex Morgan, who are protesting on behalf of their team are all prominent women athletes who have taken US women’s soccer to new heights. They claim that while men’s soccer team has historical wins, the women’s team has proved its worth. They have won world and Olympic championships and defeated Japan in the 2015 World Cup final last summer, a match which 26 million viewers in the US tuned into. On the other hand, the men’s team has never progressed past the World Cup quarterfinals since finishing third at the inaugural tournament in 1930.
It has been argued that men’s sports and their players get a financial edge and support from every federation. But more and more women players are now raising their voices against the disparity of incomes, forcing sporting bodies into a discussion. Women’s sports are generating interest and attracting eyeballs which has gotten Corporates interested in them as well. So it follows logic that high-profile individual female sports like tennis, golf, figure skating, gymnastics, and track and field shrink the wage gap and put women on an equal footing with men.
So what will be the outcome of this battle? And what will be the next one? Watch this space.