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About the pay gap

Last year I had a long discussion with one of my uncles about the US women’s national soccer team and their plight for equal pay. Perhaps due to my women’s college background and (somewhat extensive) womxn’s and gender studies, I was floored —if not heartbroken — to hear my uncle’s fervent dismissal of the USWNT call to be paid the same as the men’s team.

In 2006, Venus Williams penned an op-ed essay in The Times of London urging Wimbledon for the male and female prize to be equal. She wrote:

“Have you ever been let down by someone that you had long admired, respected and looked up to? Little in life is more disappointing, particularly when that person does something that goes against the very heart of what you believe is right and fair.”

In those two sentences the tennis maven perfectly expressed the level of heartbreak I felt when my uncle and I disagreed on equal pay for the USWNT. Which leads me to think… Imagine being the women players and having for so long admired and fought to be a part of the national team, only to find out that the entity in power (in this case the U.S. Soccer Federation) doesn’t treat you fairly or justly.

[fyi: Figures show that the USWNT generated more revenue than the men’s team from 2016 to 2018, the women brought in US$50.8 million, compared to the men’s US$49.9 million]

High profile cases like these are incredibly important because they bring attention to how ubiquitous the gender wage gap is, an issue that can truly be found across the board.

Women make on average 82% of what men do. That means that on average for every dollar a man makes, a woman only makes 82 cents. And the pay gap is much larger for women of color and in some cases the gap even appears to be widening.


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