Women's World Cup Championship Drives Conversation About Pay Equity

Womens World Cup Championship Drives Conversation About Pay Equity

The U.S. women's soccer team has won the FIFA Women's World Cup for the fourth time, and the reigning champions want equal pay for their accomplishments.

Successful teams in the men's 2018 World Cup shared a FIFA prize pool of $400 million, compared to $30 million in prize money for this year's women's tournament. Although U.S. men's soccer games historically generated more revenue than their female counterparts' games, there has been a change in recent years, according to The Wall Street Journal—and Nike says the U.S. women's 2019 home jersey is the top-selling soccer jersey

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said the prize money will double for the next women's World Cup in 2023, reported CNN. But star player Megan Rapinoe claims that's not enough. "We should double it now and use that number to double it or quadruple it for the next time."

We've rounded up the latest news on this topic. Here are SHRM Online resources and news articles from other trusted media outlets.

Players Sued in March

Members of the U.S. Women's National Team filed a lawsuit in March asserting gender discrimination claims and demanding equal pay. "At this moment of tremendous pride for America, the sad equation remains all too clear, and Americans won't stand for it anymore," said Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the team in their lawsuit. "These athletes generate more revenue and garner higher TV ratings but get paid less simply because they are women." The players and the U.S. Soccer Federation have agreed to mediation, which should start soon.


Congress Members Urge for Pay Equity

More than 50 members of Congress joined a letter asking the U.S. Soccer Federation to justify the differences in pay and working conditions between male and female players. "The inequities that these women champions have faced … are indefensible," the letter said. "The U.S. Soccer Federation should work to correct course and close the wage gap so that the only thing women athletes are fighting for is the world title or a gold medal. Instead, the message sent to women and girls is that their skills and accomplishments are of lesser value."


Gender Pay Gap Persists

Women earn 82 cents for every dollar men make, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which calculates that figure using the full-time median income of all women compared with that of all men. While the gap has narrowed, it has proved hard to close. Although critics say the BLS wage-gap figure doesn't distinguish among people in different jobs and with varying levels of experience, advocates for pay equity say it's an important measure of how women are faring in the workplace—and statistics that compare women to men in similar circumstances also show a gender pay gap, even though it's not always as large.

(SHRM Online)

State Lawmakers Aren't Waiting for Federal Pay-Equity Reform

Federal law has prohibited gender-based pay discrimination since 1963—yet pay disparities between men and women persist. In response, state lawmakers have increasingly tried to strengthen pay-equity laws. Here are some of the key features of these laws that employers should note. 

(SHRM Online)

U.S. Companies Are Working to Fix Pay-Equity Issues

Businesses are also taking matters into their own hands when it comes to closing the gender pay gap—as well as pay inequities based on race and ethnicity. Sixty percent of U.S. organizations are working to resolve pay inequities based on gender, race or other demographic factors, and most organizations that are not yet taking action are considering doing so, according to a recent survey.

(SHRM Online)

[Visit SHRM's resource page on pay equity.]



Job Finder

Find an HR Job Near You
Search Jobs


Find the Right Vendor for Your HR Needs

SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies

Search & Connect

HR Daily Newsletter

News, trends and analysis, as well as breaking news alerts, to help HR professionals do their jobs better each business day.