Are You Paid Fairly?

Are You Paid Fairly?

I was able to catch a few of the Women’s World Cup Games last week, and this weekend when the Women’s U.S. Soccer Team dominated and brought home the championship for the United States.  While I watched, they won their fourth World Cup on Sunday. They’re ranked number one in the world and now they are in the same league as rock stars.  The team others strive to beat is the U.S. Women’s Team.  They are more successful than the Men’s National Team and are drawing more and more fans all the time from all over the world.

But even with all this success, the team players are still not treated as equals to the men’s team.  This March the entire team of twenty-eight players sued the U.S. Soccer Federation, their employer.  Their lawsuit alleges that they are consistently paid less than the male soccer players, and given much less support, even though they have demonstrated exceptional performance. And their success has brought substantial profits to the U.S. Soccer Federation.

I was thinking about this lawsuit and remembering when I worked for a firm in the past and found out by accident that a male employee who performed the same duties was paid thirty per cent more in salary than I was.  When I asked the Managing Partner why this was happening, he told me that there was no way he could ever see paying a woman the same salary as a man.  He added, “that’s just how it is.”  I proceeded to explain how my work had generated substantial profits for the firm and how I handled more work than my male counterpart.  He just shook his head and said it was his normal procedure.  I think that the thing that upset me the most was that I’d worked there so long without knowing how I was being treated unfairly.

I did some research and read that in 2018, the ratio of women’s to men’s weekly full-time earnings was 81.1 percent, a decrease of 0.7 percent since 2017.  That leaves a wage gap of 18.9 percent, between men and women, which is wider compared to 18.1 per cent in 2016. Based on these numbers, women’s earnings stayed the same compared with the previous year, while men’s earnings increased by 9.9 per cent since 2017.  I realized unfortunately, that I wasn’t alone.

The only way to make headway around the issue of equal pay is to aim for openness around salaries.  There are plenty of companies and businesses that discourage openness.  They say it’s “not appropriate,” or “unprofessional.” I read that according to Women’s Policy Research twenty five percent of companies stated that openness was absolutely forbidden. I think the real reason is that they do not offer fair pay to their employees. 

The champion U.S. female team will be paid thirty million for winning, compared to the four hundred and forty million the next men’s champion will be paid.  After their win on Sunday, FIFA cannot ignore the profit and revenue generated by women’s soccer, the way it has been doing for so long.  It also cannot continue to keep repeating that women aren’t able to compete, and that people won’t pay to watch them play. If another win from the women’s team in the future is what is wanted, than they better bite the bullet and pay what is fair, or they will be left behind all the other competing countries that do support women’s soccer and pay fairly.

Francine Rodriguez Icon

While you’re here, please check out my books, The Fortunate Accident and A Woman Like Me.