On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed an equal pay bill that will guarantee equal compensation for women competing in international sporting events, regardless of the fact that women’s sports get significantly less viewership and sponsorship than their male counterparts.
For a long time, the US women’s soccer team has been fighting to be paid as much as the men, and now the equal pay bill is headed to Joe Biden’s desk for his final signature.
The US Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone gave a statement after the bill was passed, saying, “By sending this legislation to the President, both houses have sent a clear message that this is the standard for all National Teams in all sports and it underscores the importance of working with our athletes to achieve equal pay including equalizing international prize money.”
Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), a co-sponsor of the bill, spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday night, praising the US women’s soccer players who spearheaded the equal pay initiative.
“I… want to thank heroes like Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, who brought that case against U.S. Soccer,” said Cantwell. “U.S. women’s soccer led the charge after winning the World Cup and making it clear to everyone that women athletes deserve equal pay.”
The Equal Pay for Team USA Act will require that all athletes representing the United States in international competition receive equal pay and benefits, regardless of gender. This bill encompasses the 50+ national sports the U.S. competes in.
While most U.S. Olympic sports have met USOPC standards of equal compensation, men’s and women’s soccer teams continued to experience pay inequalities while competing in international events like the World Cup.
It is important to note, however, that the 2019 Women’s World Cup had less than one-tenth of the interest as the 2018 Men’s World Cup. The average audience for the men was 191 million, while the women had an average audience of only 17.27 million, according to a report from 2020.
The obvious viewership discrepancies between men’s and women’s sports, not only in soccer but in most other sports, leave many people wondering where the additional money will come from if the women are unable to secure the major sponsors and advertisers that support the men’s teams.