The United States Women's National Team (USWNT) is paving the way for the next generation of women athletes to experience more gender equality in sports.
After a six-year battle, US Soccer and USWNT announced an agreement on equal pay in a joint statement released Tuesday, according to CNN.
The agreement comes after top players filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016, and USWNT filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against US Soccer in 2019. The final settlement is the result of the ratification of USWNT’s new collective bargaining agreement. The team will receive $24 million and US Soccer has agreed to provide equal pay for the women’s and men’s teams in all competitions, including the World Cup, according to the BBC.
US Soccer will pay $22 million to the players involved in the dispute, as well as an additional $2 million to support USWNT players to meet their post-soccer goals and for women’s and girls’ soccer-related charitable initiatives.
Professional sports is only one sector impacted by the global wage gap that prevents women from receiving the same opportunities to support themselves and their families. Women earn 82% of what men earn in the US, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.
Players on the four-time World Cup-winning team are sharing what they hope the decision means for the future.
It's a historic day for us! It's been years and years of fighting for equality within our sport. Today we accomplished that with US Soccer! https://t.co/hUwJshkr2c— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) February 22, 2022
"The thing I look forward to and I'm really proud of is that justice comes in the next generation never having to go through what we went through — it's equal pay across the board from here on out,” two-time World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe said on CBS Mornings.
In 2019, 28 of USWNT’s players filed the first claim that they were being paid less than the men’s national team. The court dismissed the complaint in May 2020, which led to an appeal.
The 2021 documentary film LFG followed key players in the lawsuit for pay discrimination as part of the #WhenWeValueWomen campaign to highlight the disparities women face and drive collective action.
“This is the change we all wanted to see happen,” Abby Greensfelder, founder and CEO of Everywoman Studios and one of the producers of LFG, said in a statement released to Global Citizen.
“Today’s historic settlement on behalf of the US Women’s National Soccer Team is just the beginning of the pursuit for pay and play equity — in sports and beyond. We couldn’t be prouder to have helped the players bring their story to light.”