Daily Video

April 1, 2016

U.S. women’s soccer players demand equal pay for equal play

Essential question

Why does the issue of equal pay continue to be a major challenge in the U.S.?

Following last summer’s Women’s World Cup win, five top U.S. women’s soccer players say it’s time for them to be paid the same as their male counterparts.

The players — including goalkeeper Hope Solo, midfielder Carli Lloyd and forward Alex Morgan — filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accusing U.S. soccer of wage discrimination. The women claim they earn four times less than the U.S. men’s team, despite generating $20 million more in revenue.

“We continue to be told we should be grateful just to have the opportunity to play professional soccer and to get paid for doing it,” Solo said on the Today Show on Thursday.

In response, U.S. soccer released a statement saying it is “committed to and engaged in negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement that addresses compensation.”

Former goalkeeper Brianna Scurry played on the national team from 1994 to 2008 and also took part in efforts to end disparities between the women’s and men’s teams throughout her career on the team.

“I really hope it doesn’t come down to the women’s team feeling they have to strike in order to get their equal pay for equal play,” she said.

Key terms

pay equity – “equal pay for equal work” is the concept that individuals doing the same work should receive the same wages, salary and benefits regardless of gender

Warm up questions (before watching the video)
  1. What do you know about the issue of “equal pay” in the U.S.?
  2. How much on average do women make an hour compared to men in the U.S.?
  3. Why do you think there are significant disparities in male and female athletes’ salaries?
Critical thinking questions (after watching the video)
  1. Women players on the U.S. soccer team can earn $99,000 if they win at least 20 exhibition games a year while men could earn $263,000 for doing the same thing. Why do you think this disparity exists?
  2. Do you agree with the decision on behalf of some of the players on the U.S. women’s soccer team to sue the U.S. soccer federation for equal pay?
  3. Does gender discrimination matter in the world of professional sports? Why or why not?
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