Seattle Storm

Women's professional teams continue to fight for equal pay

Seattle Storm

On Women's Equality Day, there's plenty to celebrate and plenty still to acknowledge that needs to be done.

Whether it’s the WNBA, the NWSL or the USWNT, there are so many professional sports teams continuing the fight for equality, particularly with equal pay.

Many of these teams' key voices are spearheaded by local PNW athletes.

While Women’s Equality Day commemorates women’s suffrage, it’s hard not to think about equal pay in women’s professional sports.

This is a battle that female athletes continue to fight for in 2021. 

In January of last year, the WNBA’s players association, led by the player’s association president Los Angeles Spark forward Nneka Ogwumike, signed a historic Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The league’s new CBA raised the average player’s salary and also introduced childcare, maternity leave and other great family planning benefits.  

 

Find out more about the W’s new CBA here.

Shifting to the pitch, the National Women’s Soccer League will celebrate its 10-year anniversary season in 2022.

The NWSL began its negotiations over the NWSL’s first-ever CBA back in April. The agreement is ongoing but is expected to include terms on player compensation, benefits, travel, medical and safety issues and more.

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As for the USWNT, the national team remains in a legal dispute with the U.S. Soccer Federation.

It’s been more than a year after a judge dismissed their equal pay lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. Last month the U.S. women’s national team urged a federal appeals court to reinstate their equal pay lawsuit.  

That was on the eve of the team’s second game at the Tokyo Olympics as they filed an opening brief in the appeal.

“We believe in our case and know our value,” Megan Rapinoe, soccer superstar and partner of Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird, said in a statement. “It’s time (U.S. Soccer) does too. LFG.”

The women’s US soccer team has far exceeded the success of their male counterparts. The women have placed in the top three teams in every Women’s World Cup since 1991 when the women’s tournament began. 

The women's team is currently the most successful squad in international women's soccer after earning four Women's World Cup titles in 1991, 1999, 2015, and 2019, along with four Olympic gold medals in 1996, 2004, 2008, and 2012, and eight CONCACAF Gold Cups.

And yet, their lawsuit was thrown out after a judge sided with U.S. soccer, stating that the players "have not demonstrated a triable issue that WNT players are paid less than MNT players."

 

As we celebrate Women’s Equality Day annually on Aug. 26 in the U.S., we commemorate the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and so much more, while still calling for continued change.