Imagine it: you work for an organization that you love and that pays you well. You love the team you work with and even though the work is grueling and difficult, you enjoy it immensely. You dedicate yourself to both the company and your peers. You rise in the morning ready for the day’s challenges and you go to sleep at night feeling fulfilled.
But then you learn that another team in your organization – who does the exact same work as yours – is getting paid more. Significantly more. In fact, you are compensated only a quarter of what the other team is.
What do you do? How do you react? Do you fight for equality?
The Harsh Truth
This scenario might sound outrageous, but it’s a reality for the players who make up the US women’s soccer team. Despite their global success (three World Cup championships and four Olympic championships, for instance), these women are paid less than half of what the members of the men’s team are paid. According to goalkeeper Hope Solo, the men’s players “get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.”
Some people might attempt to explain this wage gap by making the argument that the men’s US soccer team draws in more dollars than the women’s since typically, more people watch male-dominated sports. But in 1999, when the women played the World Cup in the United States, they set records for both attendance and viewership. Then last year, the final World Cup women’s match between the US and Japan was seen by 25.4 million viewers on Fox, which broke yet another record for a men’s or women’s soccer game. Additionally, just last year alone, the women’s team raised $20 million more in revenue than the men’s team did. So why the difference in wage?
Ladies Leading the Way
Because of the consistent wage disparity between the women and men soccer players, five women on the team filed a lawsuit on behalf of their entire team. They are charging U.S. Soccer, the sport’s governing body, for wage discrimination; their case has been submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Carli Lloyd, the team’s MVP at the World Cup, stated in an interview: “We have been quite patient over the years with the belief that the federation would do the right thing and compensate us fairly.” Now she and a few of her teammates are bringing the issue to the public’s attention in order to call out the U.S. Soccer federation for allowing the wage gap to persist.
How You Can Lead the Way
By stepping up and filing a complaint, the five players of the US women’s soccer team are serving as champions – not only for their fellow team members and for other professional women athletes, but also for women in general. On average, women in the United States to date still make around 78 cents for every dollar that a man earns. Only by rallying together to talk about these disparities can progress be achieved. One way to participate in this specific issue is to sign this petition to voice your support for the US women’s team.
But aside from wage gaps, what other discrepancies are present in the workplace? What other inequalities are worth confronting – and are you, as an organization, prepared to do it?
This is what the Dignity & Respect Campaign’s Lead the Way initiative is truly about – both challenging and recognizing organizations, institutions, and even communities who treat others with dignity and respect. To join this initiative, be sure to sign up for our newsletters and stay current with our monthly projects and objectives.
Your organization can help to make the world a better place. Start today.