Equal Pay: Still An Issue


A girls Vail Valley Soccer Club team getting ready to play.

Reagan McAdams, Reporter

Today is Equal Pay Day, which according to the National Committee on Pay Equity, is “how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.” Equal Pay Day first started being recognized in 1996 when it was established to bring awareness to the major gap between men and women in the workplace. 

According to Equal Pay Today, women earn 82 cents for every dollar that men make on average. So on a typical 9:00-5:00 workday women start to work for free at 2:40 compared to men who will be compensated the same for every hour. If a man and woman work the same job, have the same education, and work the same amount of hours, the man would get paid more.

For professional female athletes, the pay gap is much larger and more detrimental to their careers. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has historically been far more successful than the men’s team.The USWNT has won four Olympic Gold Medals, four Women’s World Cup titles, and eight CONCACAF Gold Cups. However, the USWNT players are still undervalued when it comes to their pay. 

“Despite all of the wins, I am still paid less than men who do the same job that I do. For each trophy — of which there are many — for each win, each tie and for each time that we play, it’s less,” Megan Rapinoe, captain of the USWNT said earlier today at the White House.

Because of the blatant pay disparity, the USWNT filed a lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation in 2019. They cited the evidence that if the men’s and women’s teams were each to win the same amount of games, the male players would make an average of $263,320 while female players would make $99,000. These numbers do not take into account that the USWNT on average wins more than the men’s team. Even if the men’s team manages to win as much as the women’s team, which doesn’t happen often, the women’s team would still be paid less. 

But Equal Pay Day isn’t just about pay, it is also about the opportunities given to men that aren’t available to women. In the sports world, it is not uncommon for female athletes to be given less equipment or worse accommodations compared to male athletes. NCAA March Madness is the biggest tournament for college basketball. However, when female basketball players arrived at the tournament this year, they discovered only a signal rack of dumbbells to train with while the men’s teams had a state of the art training facility with enough equipment for every player. Even the quality of food provided differed between the men’s and women’s teams. 

NPR found countless disparities between the men’s and women’s tournaments. Among them were, “uninspiring box meals compared with a buffet with steak fillets and lobster mac ‘n’ cheese; swag bags appearing to be a third the size of the men’s.., and the men’s team was being tested daily with highly accurate PCR coronavirus tests, while his women’s team was receiving antigen tests, which are less accurate.”  All of this is inexcusable, especially the COVID tests. Since when did women’s safety come after men’s? Female athletes have been taken advantage of and disrespected enough, Equal Pay day strives to make a change, not only for female athletes but for all women. 

I have been playing soccer since I was five years old, and I had never really thought of myself as a victim of sexism. I knew about the pay gap for athletes, but I have never been paid since I am only a high school player. However, when I started thinking about inequality as a lack of opportunity too, I began to realize how affected I had been. Throughout my soccer career, I have had to practice on worse fields, use older pennies, and be picked last for co-ed teams. These may be subtle differences, but as I explained earlier, at the professional level, these differences aren’t so subtle. So join the fight and celebrate Equal Pay Day to help everyone acknowledge that the gap in pay and opportunities is a real problem.