Soccer fans from across the country lined the streets of New York City to celebrate the U.S. women’s soccer team’s World Cup Victory over the Netherlands. Thousands cheered, some shed tears. But one familiar chant was heard throughout the crowd on Wednesday:
“Equal pay, equal pay, equal pay.”
They were the same chants that rung out through the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon following the team’s fourth World Cup victory, and won’t likely retire anytime soon.
The U.S. women’s soccer team has been outspoken about its demands of equal pay. 28 players on the women’s national team, which includes Portland Thorns players Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan, Emily Sonnett and Adrianna Franch, sued the United States Soccer Federation in March, alleging they were paid less than their male counterparts even though they win more games and bring in more money.
The women will get bonuses from the USSF that are roughly five times less than the men would have earned for winning the World Cup.
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo agrees it's time that the women be paid equally. Just moments before the team was honored in the Canyon of Heroes, Cuomo signed legislation that would eliminate a loophole that allows gender discrimination in pay for men and women’s the same jobs.
#BREAKING: I just signed new pay equity legislation at the #USWNTParade.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) July 10, 2019
The women's soccer team plays the same game that the men’s soccer players play — only better. If anything, the men should get paid less.
Thank you @USWNT for helping lead this movement for change! pic.twitter.com/qHy2aYs2Tl
“They play the same game on the same field and by the way they it much better,” Cuomo said. “They are much more successful than the men. There is no rational reason based in economics that they are paid less.”
Around the same time, Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democratic presidential candidate, appeared on CNN to share that he would sign an executive order to guarantee equal pay for male and female athletes. He added that he would require Congress to pass an amendment to the Amateur Sports Act, and in the event of that failing, he would sign an executive order which forces the U.S. Soccer Federation to pay up.
One resolution seems easy at this point: Pay the U.S. women what the U.S. men make. Until then, the USWNT's biggest battle off the field carries on.