We Are The Champions—But Not When It Comes To Equal Pay For Women Athletes

Statement from NOW President Toni Van Pelt

07.26.2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.  The U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) in soccer made history by winning their fourth World Cup trophy, but the legacy of discrimination against women athletes continues. This is one reason NOW is standing up in support of two important pieces of legislation that would help female athletes finally get the compensation they deserve.  

The USWNT, led by inspiring figures including Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Rose Lavelle, are paid as little as 38 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts, despite winning back-to-back World Cup titles.  Additionally, the women’s team is subjected to inferior playing conditions and equipment than the national men’s team, who have never won a World Cup. In fact, their best performance dates back to 1930, when they reached the quarter-finals. 

That is why NOW strongly supports the Give Our Athletes Level Salaries (GOALS) Act, introduced by Reps. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), which would block any and all federal funding for the 2026 World Cup—jointly hosted by the United States, Mexico, and Canada—until the U.S. Soccer Federation pays the women fair and equitable wages.  

Additionally, the Athletics Fair Pay Act, introduced by Reps. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) in the House and Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) in the Senate, would require equal pay and compensation for all Olympic and amateur athletes by amending the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act to require equitable pay for female athletes. It would also add new reporting requirements regarding athlete pay broken down by race and gender.  

The electrifying performance and inspiring team spirit of the USWNT is helping to boost soccer’s popularity in the United States, but the way we treat women athletes remains a source of national shame.  The whole world will be watching us when the World Cup comes to North America in 2026.  If we are going to be a leader in international soccer, we must first lead with our values of equal pay, fairness and respect for women.    

Pass the GOALS Act and the Athletics Fair Pay Act today.   

Contact

Kimberly Hayes, Press Secretary , press@now.org , 202-570-4745
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