Call it a landmark moment for gender equality in sport, US women footballers equal pay lawsuit is gaining a lot of attention lately. Before the trial on May 5, US Soccer is building a case against the US Women’s National Soccer Team, who have pledged for gender equity in the workplace back in 2018. The US Soccer Federation has been under fire with its attorney’s controversial argument in court that “women players should be paid less because the men’s team requires a higher level of skill.”

The women’s team is expecting an award of $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As a counter, US Soccer lawyers have argued that under the Equal Pay Act, “The job of a [men’s national team player] carries more responsibility within US Soccer than the job of a [women’s national team] player.”

Also, the recent documents revealed that US Soccer believes that the two teams do not perform or provide “equal work requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions.”

Key Takeaways:

  • US women footballers are fighting over wage gap, have filed equal pay lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation.
  • The federation argued in court that “women players should be paid less because the men’s team requires a higher level of skill.”
  • During a recent match on Wednesday, the team turned their jerseys inside out to hide the logo of the governing federation.

The change-makers

During a recent match on Wednesday, the team turned their jerseys inside out to hide the logo of the governing federation. The players sported inside-out jerseys throughout the national anthem to protest against the inequality before the match against Japan.

The US women had scored goals after goals at the World Cup last year with the team winning the Athlete of the Year title. Megan Rapinoe, star of the United States Women’s National Team, was awarded the women’s Ballon d’Or prize at an awards ceremony in Paris. She became the first United States women’s national team (USWNT) player to win the prestigious award. Rapinoe helped lead the USWNT to its fourth World Cup title last summer in France, scoring six goals and recording as the tournament’s top player.

“Shall we fight it out?”

The lawyer argued that the women’s team could not compete with the men’s team, thus having a difference in “overall soccer playing ability” is valid, the statement read. “Do you think that the team could be competitive against the senior men’s national team?” a US Soccer lawyer asked national team player Carli Lloyd while building their case, according to documents filed last month.

“I’m not sure,” Lloyd said. “Shall we fight it out to see who wins and then we get paid more?”

A lead attorney said that the argument is not “a sexist stereotype”. Instead, it’s just “indisputable science” admitted by a top USWNT star.

Another lawyer for the organization asked another footballer Alexandra Morgan, “Do you think it requires more skill to play for the US Men’s National Team than the US Women’s National Team?” “No,” Morgan replied. “It’s a different skill.”

“I mean, the timing of it on the eve of not only a game, but in this tournament and on the eve of International Women’s Day,” Rapinoe told reporters, according to The Athletic. “I guess if that’s how you want to celebrate International Women’s Day and show support for not only your players but future players and girls all over the place, that’s one way to do it.”

Calling it “disturbing”, former star player Heather O’Reilly said on Twitter that “to read that US Soccer thinks this of the USWNT and female athletes in general is disgusting and disturbing to me.”

The Megan Rapinoe team is fighting over wage gap and using their Women’s World Cup performance to campaign for equal pay.

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Fighting for gender equality

The team is fighting over wage gap and using their Women’s World Cup performance to campaign for equal pay. They moved toward mediating a federal lawsuit in 2018 in which Soccer players, who include some of the world’s most famous female athletes, accused their federation of years of “institutionalised gender discrimination” that includes inequitable compensation when compared to players on the men’s team.

Rapinoe, who is known for her strong opinions, has been leading the way in the women’s national team’s lawsuit against US Soccer, accusing the federation of gender discrimination.

The federation is facing raging public pressure over the pay structure. “I want you to know that U.S. Soccer is committed to doing right by our players, and I’ve been encouraged by the public comments from players expressing their desire for a cooperative approach. I remain optimistic that we can find common ground,” Carlos Cordeiro, the US Soccer President had earlier claimed. “Together, I believe we can get this done,” Time.com reported.

READ: Look Beyond Cricket, Our Sportswomen Are Winning Golds!

Feature Image Credit: Los Angeles Times

Read More Stories By Ria Das

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