Members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team have spoken out about the inequality and discrimination they have faced from the U.S. Soccer Federation, saying that they are being treated like “second-class citizens” in comparison with their male counterparts.
Team captain Carli Lloyd, along with teammates Becky Sauerbrunn, Christen Press, Morgan Brian and Hope Solo voiced their frustrations in an interview for 60 Minutes, which was aired on Sunday. The team revealed their long fight for equal pay, and hinted at strike action if the complaint they have lodged with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the Federation is not resolved. Despite being the top ranked women’s team in the world according to FIFA, they are paid approximately three times less the men’s team if the figures are broken down per match, according to Solo.
“Every time we brought up the men, it pissed them off, it annoyed them, and they’d say, ‘Don’t bring up the men. Don’t bring it up,’” Solo said, noting that the women’s team had been challenging the existing pay structure for several years. The dispute also involves factors such as playing conditions, equipment and travel in addition to pay disparity. Morgan Brian said, “To be able to perform like we do and to be the best in the world, we should be treated the same as them.”
In a statement to 60 Minutes, the Federation said they “are actively working to reach a new collective bargaining agreement with the USWNT.” Lloyd added that the team would not stop fighting until equality was achieved, saying, “This is history-making, what we’re doing, what we’re fighting for. It not only resonates with this team and with generations to come but it’s global as well.”