When the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) and their fans took to the streets of New York City on July 10 for their ticker-tape parade, chants of “USA! USA!” became muddled with its rhyme and rallying cry, “Equal pay! Equal pay!” Now, a bill supporting the USWNT has been introduced in Congress.
Two Democratic congress members, Doris Matsui who represents a district in California and Rosa DeLauro who represents a district in Connecticut introduced the GOALS Act (Give Our Athletes Level Salaries) on July 23. If passed, the act would bar federal funding for the 2026 World Cup, which is set to be hosted by the U.S., Mexico and Canada, until the USWNT is paid equally to the men.
Twenty-eight members of the USWNT filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) for equal pay in March. According to the lawsuit, the U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) makes nearly three times as much as the women’s team, despite not having won any World Cups.
Additionally, FIFA awarded the Women’s World Cup champions $30 million while last year’s Men’s World Cup winners earned $400 million.
USSF has claimed the USWNT is paid less because they generate less revenue than the men’s team. However, documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal in June reveal that between 2016 and 2018, the USWNT generated approximately $50.8 million in total revenue, while the men generated about $49.9 million.
“Stars like Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and Rose Lavelle have used their stardom to elevate the issue of pay inequality in this country and inspire women across the nation to demand no less than what they deserve — equal pay for equal work,” Matsui said in her press release regarding the GOALS Act.
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The two teams operate separately with different expenses and net earnings for the USSF, so it is difficult to compare the two teams’ pay exactly, however, a fact check by The Washington Post calls out the all-too-common trope of women having to vastly outperform men to gain the same recognition.
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The bill has the support of 61 members in the House of Representatives. It needs 157 more to reach the majority required to push it to the Senate.