The Women’s World Cup soccer team has the world at their feet. Everyone, it seems, except the men who pay the prize money at the governing body FIFA. At the ticker parade in New York City on Wednesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio encouraged the crowd to cheer for the team and what they stand for; the crowd chanted, “Equal pay! Equal pay!”
The winning American team will receive a maximum of $200,000 each in prize money, including all other prizes along the way, compared with maximum earnings of $1,114,429 each for the men, according to the Guardian. FIFA rules for the World Cup men’s tournament award the winning team $9.375 million, which is divided equally among the 23 players, the Guardian added.
The U.S. Women’s National Team won its record fourth Women’s World Cup title and took home the prize for the second consecutive time, beating the Netherlands 2-0 on Sunday. Before the final, an estimated 850 million viewers across all platforms had watched the tournament, and the total audience could exceed 1 billion, according to Goal.com.
As of Wednesday, two equal pay petitions had collective yielded over 100,000 signatures. MoveOn, a progressive public-policy advocacy group and political-action committee, collected 87,150 signatures, exceeding its goal of 4,000 for a petition to provide the U.S. women equal pay. UltraViolet, a national women’s advocacy organization, garnered nearly 20,000 for its own petition.
MoveOn said immediate action should be taken. “The U.S. Soccer Federation could fix this right now, without the courts, by paying all of the players’ salaries and bonuses equally, regardless of gender,” MoveOn said.
“In addition to bringing home championships, the U.S. women’s team is also bringing in lots of revenue,” the MoveOn petition added. “The U.S. Women’s National Team jersey is the best-selling Nike NKE, -0.48% soccer jersey ever. And the women’s team has brought in more revenue than the men’s team for the past three years.”
The U.S. 2019 Stadium Home Women’s Jersey is in fact said to be the company’s No. 1–selling soccer shirt. The white, slim-fitted, short-sleeved top has red and blue stripes on the sleeves and three stars representing the number of times the team had won the World Cup, with a fourth star added by Sunday’s result. The jersey, which costs $90, is made from recycled polyester fabric.
Megan Rapinoe lifts the FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy following her team’s victory in Sunday’s final against the Netherlands.
Megan Rapinoe, the widely lauded and pink-haired women’s co-captain, converted a tie-breaking penalty kick in the 61st minute of the match after a video review concluded that Stefanie van der Gragt had fouled Alex Morgan with a high kick in the penalty area. Rose Lavelle scored the second goal for the U.S.
The U.S. women had filed a gender-discrimination lawsuit last March. In one calculation taken over a four-year period through 2016, the lawsuit claims that if the women’s U.S. soccer team won 20 nontournament games a year, the top women’s players would earn just 38 cents on the dollar compared with the men’s team. (FIFA did not respond to request for comment.)
The Women’s World Cup players don’t receive monetary bonuses for moving ahead in the tournament, according to the Guardian. For example, male World Cup players are entitled to up to $679,321 per player for advancing to the knockout round of the tournament, compared with just $90,000 for women. The crowd chanted “Equal pay!” after Sunday’s game:
After winning Sunday’s game, Rapinoe told ESPN DIS, +1.80% : “Everyone is kind of asking what’s next and what we want to come of all of this. It’s to stop having the conversation about equal pay and are we worth it and should we and the investment piece. What are we going to do about it?”
She added: “It’s time to sit down with everyone and really get to work.”
From 2016 to 2018, U.S. women’s soccer games raised approximately $50.8 million in revenue, compared with $49.9 million for the country’s men’s side, according to the U.S. Soccer Federation’s audited financial statements, the Wall Street Journal reported last month. In 2016, the women’s team generated $1.9 million more than the men’s.