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U.S. soccer player Hope Solo defends the goal at the 2016 She Believes Cup in March 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Irritating

Why the U.S. women’s soccer team isn’t getting equal pay, despite its success

By WITW Staff on June 21, 2019

While the U.S. women’s soccer team continues its win streak at the World Cup, supporting its demand for equal pay with the men, there is an arena where the women aren’t winning, according to The Washington Post: the boardroom.

Women are vastly underrepresented in top positions in sports. “The International Olympic Committee has never had a female president,” the Post reports. “The United States Olympic Committee likewise did not have a female president for its first 100 years of operation, only ending the male line of succession in 2000. At the 2018 Winter Olympics, eight women served as coaches for Team USA, in contrast to 58 men.”

Men have also largely been responsible for organizing women’s soccer, according to the Post. FIFA was formed in 1904 to oversee international soccer, and all 12 of its presidents have been men. In 2013, it finally elected the first woman to its executive committee.

U.S. soccer has lagged as well: It took 70 years for the U.S. Soccer Federation, the national governing body for the sport, to elect Marty Mankamyer, the first woman on its executive committee, in 1984, the Post reports. Despite the U.S. women’s greater success than the men on the soccer field, women remain significantly outnumbered in the organization.

The problem extends into coaching. Seven of the nine teams in the National Women’s Soccer League have male head coaches, while 22 of 28 assistant coaches are male. There are no female coaches in Major League Soccer.

The U.S. women’s soccer team roundly outperforms the men’s team — the men failed to qualify for the last World Cup while the women won it — but the men make much more money. On March 8, International Women’s Day, the women took action, filing a federal gender-discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, calling for equal pay.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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