Equal Pay for Equal Play (and all other kinds of work)
In the ecology of our marriage, my spouse can count on me to at least glance at the book review section of the paper—and the obituaries. I can count on him reading the sports section. And then we depend on each other to point out those articles and columns that might be of interest.
So it was not unexpected that he would hand me an essay by soccer player Carli Lloyd, published right before Equal Pay Day 2016. In it, she wrote that she has proudly worn a U.S. national women’s team uniform for 12 years, and in this role had some of the greatest moments of her life—winning two Olympic gold medals and the 2015 Women’s World cup.
Which did not stop her, she wrote, from joining four teammates in filing a wage discrimination complaint against US soccer. Despite her love of the game, she was called to “do what’s right and what’s fair, and upholding a fundamental American concept: equal pay for equal play.”
She’s done, she declared, with being treated like a second class citizen. Sick of being told by the soccer federation that the women’s proposal for increased compensation has been summarily rejected. Despite being the most successful team in the history of U.S. soccer—including both male and female teams—capturing three World Cups, attracting the highest television rating for the sport in history, and helping to generate $17.7 million in profit for the professional association that turned Lloyd and other players down.
Saying that she doesn’t want to bury us with numbers, she does provide some impressive and distressing facts: the fact, for example, that the top five players on the men’s team make an average of $406,000 each year, while the top five women are guaranteed only $72,000 a year. Even the bonuses are lopsided, with males on championship teams awarded $390,000 and women just $75,000.
Lots of money either way to be sure, with incomes far ahead of the vast majority of women in this country, let alone around the world. Carli Lloyd is aware of the disparities, as she is aware also that “the fact that women are being mistreated financially is, sadly, not a breaking news story. It goes on in every field.”
“This isn’t about a money grab,” she says. “It’s about treating people they way they deserve to be treated, no matter their gender.”
Today, on this one day each year when there might be some press coverage or some air time about the perennial issue of income inequality, her story at the least has gone a bit viral.
Here are some other equally startling and newsworthy statistics about the gender gap around paychecks:
A new analysis conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families found that, on average, American women who are employed full-time are paid just 79 cents for every dollar paid to men—a yearly pay gap of $10,762. This is in addition to less money available for other necessities and for savings, as well as lower pensions and Social Security safety nets when we stop working.
For more information, visit www.NationalPartnership.org.