Equal play, equal pay

The wage gap continues to be a problem with women athletics

The gap between men’s and women’s sports is closing each year, but it is apparent that female athletes are still on the back burner.

Through progression and slightly more coverage, you hear more on the television or in the news about women’s sports, but the coverage they receive compares nowhere near to men’s sports. The common thought that men’s teams bring more success is false, especially when it comes to the men’s and women’s U.S. National Soccer teams.

Just to compare the two teams: the men have been playing in the World Cup, which is an international competition tournament played every four years, since 1930 which was the first official World Cup. The U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) finished in third place in 1930, which to date is their best finish in any World Cup tournament. The U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT), won first place of its inaugural World Cup tournament in 1991.

As referred to before, the USMNT finished in third place in 1930 and have not medaled in any World Cup since. In fact, out of the 21 Men’s World Cup that have been held, the men’s team has only qualified for ten of the tournaments, which is less than half. While on the other side, the USWNT has competed in all seven of the World Cups that have taken place and have won three times, was the runner-up once and placed in third three times. They have medaled in every World Cup.

That is just the World Cup, too, not to mention the Olympics, where the men have played since 1904 and have only medaled twice, while the women have only played since 1996 and placed first all but two times.

With all the success the USWNT has earned since they first started, one could imagine they are making good money compared to the failure that the USMNT has been. However, according to CBC online, the winner of the 2015 Women’s World Cup — which was the USWNT — received just $2 million USD, while in 2014 the USMNT lost in the round of 16 and still received $9 million USD.

The statistics speak for themselves when you can see an underwhelming gap in the amount of pay. Winning $2 million USD is good, but it does not compare to the $7 million USD gap from a team losing way before the finals.

The USWNT have taken a stand against this issue and are suing U.S. Soccer for gender discrimination. According to the New York Times, 28 players on the USWNT filed a lawsuit March 8. Not only is the lawsuit about money, but it is also about where they play and how often, how they train, what medical treatment and coaching they receive and how they travel to matches.

Being a sports fan, I find it more enjoyable to watch and support a team that constantly wins and plays in big games, opposed to watching a team barely qualify for tournaments just to lose in the first round and yet still make more money.

Looking at the Ferris women’s soccer team, some players play semi-professional over the course of the summer with the dreams of one day playing professionally. The hard work these players would put in to make it professionally compares equally to the work men have to put in. Since there is no Ferris men’s soccer team to set side by side and see the work that both teams’ players put in, all we have is to see the work the women put in.

For a female collegiate athlete, in this case soccer, it could be discouraging for them to follow their dreams of playing professionally when the outlook and pay is as low as it is, even though they are putting in just as much work as their male counterparts and getting better results.