U.S. Soccer and the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) have reached a $24 million settlement regarding a lawsuit over unequal pay compared to their male counterparts.
The settlement was announced Tuesday (February 22), several years after five current and retired USWNT players — Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd and Becky Sauerbrunn — filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint over inequality in pay and treatment in 2016, NBC News reports.
The settlement states that the Women’s National Team will receive an equal rate in future friendly and tournament appearances — including the World Cup — as the Men’s National Team moving forward.
“For us, this is just a huge win in ensuring that we not only right the wrongs of the past, but set the next generation up for something we only dreamed of,” Rapinoe said on NBC’s TODAY show Tuesday.
“We are really in the midst of an incredible turning point in women’s sport,” Rapinoe added, “If you’re not paying attention to this right now and what’s happening in women’s sport, you’re sleeping on the whole thing.”
The five players initially filed the EEOC complain in 2016 before a group of 28 USWNT players filed a lawsuit in March 2019, which accused U.S. Soccer of ongoing institutionalized gender discrimination against players in their compensation and working conditions.
The lawsuit gained national attention and fans chanted “Equal Pay!” while attending USWNT matches in support of the team, which included their successful 2019 World Cup run in Paris.
FIFA had previously awarded $400 million in prize money for the 32 teams in the 2018 men’s World Cup and $38 million to the champion, while offering just $30 million to the 24 teams competing in the 2019 women’s World Cup, which included the USWNT receiving $4 million after winning its second consecutive championship.
The USWNT has won four FIFA Women’s World Cup titles since its initial appearance during the 1991 tournament while the Men’s National Team’s best all-time finish was third in the 1930 tournament.