US Women′s National Soccer Team sues US Soccer Federation for equal pay | News | DW | 08.03.2019
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US Women's National Soccer Team sues US Soccer Federation for equal pay

The three-time world champions have been fighting for gender and wage equality for years, yet it never seems to come. Now, members of the current US national team have filed a lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation.

The three-time and defending world champion US Women's National Soccer Team (USWNT) filed a discrimination lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation (USSF) in Los Angeles on Friday. The suit was filed on International Women's Day under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

The players are seeking equal pay and treatment and also suing for damages including back pay. 

Institutionalized discriminatory practices

The class-action suit, brought by all 28 members of the current team, alleges that the USSF engages in discriminatory practices when it comes to wages and working conditions, noting that although men and women perform the same duties under a single employer, the women earn less.

The lawsuit said: "The USSF has utterly failed to promote gender equality. It has stubbornly refused to treat its female employees equally to its male employees."

The women also claimed, "The USSF admits to such purposeful gender discrimination even during times when the women earned more profit, played more games, won more games, earned more championships, and/or garnered higher television audiences." 

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Second-class pay for No. 1 ranked team

The US Women's National Soccer Team has won three World Cups, and will defend its 2015 title at this summer's tournament in France. The team has been consistently ranked No. 1 in the world for the last 11 years, with the exception of 2015, when it was ranked No. 2.

That's considerably more successful than their male counterparts.

The US men's team's best result was a third-place finish at the very first World Cup, which took place 88 years ago. Since then, when it qualified for the international tournament, it has not advanced past the quarter-finals.

Friday's filing ends a prior ongoing complaint, filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016. That complaint was lodged by players Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, Carli Lloyd and Hope Solo.

Long fight for equality

The 2016 complaint helped players in their 2017 collective bargaining agreements with the USSF. As a result, they received raises, as well as bonuses and improved travel and accommodation provisions. Current provisions will be in effect until 2021.

Although the federation has claimed that it is interested in achieving gender equality its efforts are lacking in the eyes of the women, whose lawsuit read, "The USSF has paid only lip service to gender equality and continues to practice gender-based discrimination against its champion female employees."

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js/sms (AFP, AP)

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