Equal pay for equal play- U.S. women challenge pay inequality

by Kate Ryan | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 11 July 2019 20:35 GMT

United States women's national team forward Megan Rapinoe (15) speaks at New York City Hall after the ticker-tape parade for the United States women's national soccer team down the canyon of heroes in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

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Women make up nearly half the U.S. workforce and earn more college degrees than do men each year, but they earn about 81% as much as men do

By Kate Ryan

NEW YORK, July 11 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Crowds have been chanting "Equal pay!" as the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team won its fourth World Cup and celebrated this week with a ticker-tape parade in New York.

The popular team has used its public platform in recent months to highlight the pay disparity between men and women who do the same job, inspiring lawmakers to introduce and pass legislation in support of female workers.

Following are facts about the gender pay gap for the team and for women across the United States as well as the legal battles to close it.

1. The U.S. Women's National Team will receive about $30 million for the 2019 World Cup win, less than 8% of the men's $400 million prize awarded to the French men's team that won the World Cup in 2018.

2. Almost 30 members of the women's team filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation in March over the pay gap between the men's and women's teams, accusing it of gender discrimination. The two sides have agreed to mediation in an effort to settle the claims.

3. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, introduced a bill in Congress this week to withhold government funding for the United States' hosting of the 2026 men's World Cup until the women's team receives equal pay.

4. Women make up nearly half the U.S. workforce and earn more college degrees than do men each year, but they earn about 81% as much as men do.

5. The pay gap widens for women of color. In 2018, black women's median weekly earnings were 65% of white male earnings, while Hispanic women's weekly earnings were 61% of white male earnings.

6. New York state expanded a law this week prohibiting pay discrimination based on gender, race, religion, gender identity or disability. The measure expanded protections and made it easier for workers to pursue claims.

7. The Paycheck Fairness Act, which would ensure equal pay for women and improve pay transparency in the workplace, passed the House of Representatives in March but faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate.

8. Just over a third of U.S. states have laws prohibiting employers from requesting salary histories of potential hires, measures designed to protect workers who have been discriminated against in the past from being paid unfairly at their next job.

9. Enforcing equal pay for women nationally could add more than $500 billion to the U.S. economy and cut poverty in half in homes with working women.

10. At the current pace, it would take until 2059 for white women, 2119 for black women and 2224 for Hispanic women to achieve pay equal to that of white men.

Sources: Institute for Women's Policy Research, Reuters, Plaintiffs/Claimants vs United States Soccer Federation Inc.

(Reporting by Kate Ryan, Editing by Chris Michaud

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