US women’s soccer team, six-year struggle ‘equal pay for men and women’ comes to fruition

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When selecting a national team, the men and women will receive an equal 30 million won, and the World Cup prize money will be split equally.

American women’s soccer star Alex Morgan “Historical Moment”

▲ American women’s soccer star Alex Morgan, who has been insisting on equal pay for men’s and women’s national teams. Alex Morgan’s Instagram

The players of the U.S. women’s soccer team will be paid the same level as the men’s soccer players in the future.

According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and The New York Times (NYT) on the 18th (local time), a collective agreement was signed with the American Football Association to make the wages of men and women the same. U.S. women’s soccer players have been paid less than men’s national team players during the World Cup and friendly matches, but they will receive the same amount in the future. During the World Cup qualifiers, the US women’s national team earned $6,750 (about 8.5 million won), less than half of the men’s national team, who earned $18,125 (about 22.3 million won).

However, from now on, regardless of gender, if you are selected for the national team, you will receive $24,000 (about 30 million won). According to the collective agreement on this day, there is a possibility that the men’s national team players will suffer financial loss. This is because in the case of the World Cup prize money, it was agreed to divide the prize money by half after adding up the prize money of the men’s and women’s teams, excluding the 10% share of the association. If the women’s national team wins the Women’s World Cup in 2023, they could receive a cash prize of $8 million, but that’s less than the prize money awarded to places ninth through 16th at the 2022 World Cup ($13 million).

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▲ Alex Morgan Twitter

Soccer star Alex Morgan, who has led the equal pay claim, posted a link to the news on Twitter and said it was a “historical moment.” “It’s not possible for men and women to get the same pay, but we’ve gone one step further,” said Walker Zimmerman of the men’s national team.

The reason why the US women’s soccer team was paid the same as the men’s team was because of the relentless struggle that lasted for six years. Five female soccer players, Morgan, Meghan Ruffino and Hope Solo, filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016, saying it was unreasonable to be paid less than male players. The main reason that female players demanded equal pay was ‘performance’. So far, the U.S. women’s team has won the World Cup and the Olympics four times, but the men’s team has only performed relatively poorly at the World Cup compared to the women’s team. The American Football Association countered that it was difficult to pay the same level of wages as the prize money for the women’s World Cup was less than one-tenth that of the men’s World Cup. In 2019, the women’s national team filed a civil suit with the federal court for compensation for wage discrimination.

We lost in the first trial, but at the appeals court, an agreement was reached for $24 million (about 30.4 billion won), which is one-third of the amount of compensation requested by the female athletes, and a collective agreement for equal wages was also promised.

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Reporter Ki-seop Noh

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