Breaking News: Advancing Pay Equity
4th of July Win on the Field
The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) defeated the Netherlands 2-0 for a fourth World Cup Championship. Legal Momentum is focused on what this win means for women everywhere, both on and off the soccer field. In March 2019, twenty-eight players on the USWNT brought a lawsuit against their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation, stating that they are being underpaid in comparison to the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team on the basis of their gender. The New York Times published a piece in which they state that if these twenty-eight female soccer superstars had been males, the estimated $250,000 bonus which each of the players on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team is expected to receive for their wins in the World Cup would have been more than four times higher - $1.1 million for men! This pay disparity is overt gender-based discrimination.
Ongoing Wins off the Field
These inspiring athletes are using their platform to hold the U.S. Soccer Federation accountable for this blatant discrimination which it continues to perpetrate, and they are leading a movement on the international stage. Legal Momentum fully supports the USWNT in its fight for equality. Moreover, we are optimistic about what this win on the soccer’s largest stage will mean for the everyday fight against gender-based discrimination.
Legal Momentum: Pay Equity Past and Future
Legal Momentum has actively worked to close the pay gap between men and women since its founding in 1970. One small example, Legal Momentum’s Equality Works program works to ensure that women have the same opportunities as their male counterparts have in the workplace. Since 2001, this program looked to traditionally male-dominated careers, such as firefighting and construction, as avenues through which to advocate for equality, respect, and safety for all female workers. Moreover, this year, Legal Momentum published “A Legal Toolkit for Women’s Economic Equality,” which contains information about thirteen key women’s issues, such as income inequality and gender-based discrimination in the workplace, and what one’s rights are.
In 1963, when President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, women earned 58.9% as much as men were earning average. Fifty years later, in 2013, women were earning 78.3% as much as men were. Now, one cannot make meaningful strides toward income equality without acknowledging the fact that these statistics do not apply to all women. For example, in 2018, black women were earning an average of 65.3% of white men’s earnings, and Hispanic women were earning an average of 61.6% of white men’s earnings. Yes, progress worthy of celebration has been achieved during the fifty-six years since the Equal Pay Act was signed. However, there is plenty of work left to be done in order for true economic equality to be achieved between men and women – bearing in mind the vast disparities of income among white, economically-enfranchised women and the most marginalized women, women of color.
Legal Momentum will be fifty years old in 2020. Reflecting on all of the important work that the organization has done over the last half-century, Legal Momentum looks forward to continuing to do the necessary work of advocating on behalf of women everywhere for the years to come! The leadership and the unity exemplified by the USWNT is to be celebrated and learned from.