The US men’s national soccer team did not even qualify for the last FIFA Men’s World Cup. In the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the US women brought home gold.
Not to worry, though. The US national soccer men’s team salary is still about three times the amount of the women’s team yearly salary. The victorious women in 2015 took home 2 million dollars worth of prize money, while the winners of the previous years men’s world cup took home a whopping 35 million dollars. While it may seem that the pay gap problem between men and women has decreased, it is still a modern day issue, one that is seen prominently in sports. If women and men play the same, they deserve to earn the same. This comes with equal treatment, recognition of female athletes, and similar opportunities no matter the gender.
Women are able to play equally as well as men. The level of skill and mindset that it takes to be a champion is not something that is gender specific. Physically speaking, yes, men have the advantage. The biology, muscle mass, and innate strength are components that are out of our control, and men have the upper hand. But the mentality and mindset that a demanding sport such as soccer requires is a skill in which women and men are unquestionably equal.
Lahnee Pavlovich states it perfectly: “Focus, determination, pain, disappointment, excitement, suspense, anger, relief: it’s all a part of the game whether you are a man or a woman.” A sport is not harder or easier depending on the sex that plays it. Both genders experience the same benefits, gains and challenges that come with the game.
“Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball,” or “They could have tighter shorts.” Both statements that Sepp Blatter, ex-president of FIFA made in response to how to up the viewers and supporters of female soccer. This incredibly sexist view of soccer diminishes female athletes to that of objects, saying that the only way that people will want to watch women
play is because of the visual appeal. And soccer should be about the game, the skills, the struggle; the entertainment should be from the intensity of the match – not primarily based upon looks.
Let’s face it. It’s no secret that there are way less supporters and viewers of women’s soccer, and women’s sports in general. Because of this lack of flowing revenue, there is not a limitless tap of income for these female athletes. With less supporters, there is significantly reduced revenue from game ticket sales, live streaming, and televised events, as there are less people wanting to watch smaller scale game matches. There are less opportunities for promotion and endorsement deals.
If the reason why women get paid less in sports than men is because of less revenue, and they are denied opportunities to increase the money coming into womens sports, how can anything progress?
Promoting and recognising women in sport, besides closing the gaping crevasse of a pay gap, also has the benefit of presenting capable role models, unlike impossible standards set by models, magazines and reality shows. It markets the lifestyle of an athlete, showing a more realistic and vastly healthier body type of a woman. This increase the interest in women’s sports for both aspiring young girls, as well as future audiences.
It is not only soccer.
Soccer has been a sport that powerful women have paved the way for the future generations of young girls. As Megan Rapinoe, US women’s soccer national team midfielder, states: “we’ve always — dating back to forever — been a team that stood up for itself and fought hard for what it felt it deserved and tried to leave the game in a better place.”
However there are many women’s sports which are overlooked. For example, basketball. The NBA is a widely known million dollar basketball league. No male player in the NBA makes less than $490,180 per season. However, the average salary in the WNBA starts at around $50,000 and caps at $110,000. This gap is insane. And this, this is only one statistic in one sport out of many.
If we support female athletes, promote and recognize incredible records and achievements just as much as we do their equal playing male counterparts, there will be a shift in the dynamics of sports as we know it.
The ball is in our playing field.
- Das, Andrew. “Pay Disparity in U.S. Soccer? It’s Complicated.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 21 Apr. 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/04/22/sports/soccer/usmnt-uswnt-soccer-equal-pay.html.
- Ferro, Shane. “Here’s Why It’s Fair That Female Athletes Make Less than Men.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 7 July 2015, www.businessinsider.com/womens-small-soccer-salaries-are-fair-2015-7/?IR=T.
- “Here’s How Poorly Female Soccer Players Are Paid Compared to Men.” Money, money.com/money/4277843/us-womens-soccer-equal-pay/.
- Kelso, Paul, and Marcus Christenson. “Soccer Chief’s Plan to Boost Women’s Game? Hotpants.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 16 Jan. 2004, www.theguardian.com/uk/2004/jan/16/football.gender.
- Rishe, Patrick. “The Simple Reason Why Men Win The Battle Of The Sexes For Athlete Endorsement Income.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 23 Aug. 2013,
- “Women’s Sports Presents Under Tapped Marketing Opportunities.” Liz Dolinski Marketing Consultant, 26 Nov. 2018, lizdolinski.com/womens-sports-presents-tapped-marketing-opportunities/.