USWNT paid $ 1 million from a clothing company in a battle for equal pay
A small sportswear company for women is giving the U.S. national soccer team $ 1 million to close the pay gap they’ll see at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this summer.
Title Nine, named after the revolutionary Title IX law of 1972, gives the money directly to the 22 USWNT players. Executive director Missy Park told Reuters that she decided to write her company’s largest check in 32-year history after viewing “LFG” documentary about the team’s battle for equal pay.
Title Nine writes $ 1 million check to USWNT
Title Nine announced the payment on its homepage with a video from Park.
“The pay gap is real and affects us all. It just so happens that the women’s national soccer team is emblematic of this much larger problem,” said Park. “We can all do something. We’re just a small business here in Berkeley, California. We can give them a million dollars to help these women move towards at least wage equity.
“Yes, we give a million dollars, but there are a million ways to make a difference. You can go, watch and give. Because in the end money counts. Being a team sport, but together we can all make it. So, let’s go.”
Park called the team a “national treasure” and noted their dominance in the sport.
“And if you watch this documentary, the US Football Association pays them like second-class citizens. I was like, ‘Wow,’ ”Park told Reuters.
She told Reuters after her calculations that the money will put the team on the same pay scale as the men’s national team for the six games the women could play in the Olympics. The money is administered by the USWNT Players Association (USWNTPA).
The USWNT made it through the three-game group stage, albeit not as comfortably, and face the Netherlands in the quarter-finals on Friday (7am ET).
Company launches equal pay campaign
The donation is part of the company’s “Kick In For Equal Pay” campaign. Park said Title Nine will match all contributions up to an additional $ 250,000 through its initiative. That would bring the company’s total donation, which has 19 stores in 10 states, to $ 1.25 million.
“At first I thought they were going to go to court, the US Football Association was going to step up and someone was going to fix it,” Park told Reuters. “Then I realized that we could do something about it.
“We looked at a lot of numbers … and came to that number. That’s a lot of batter. It’s a lot of batter for a small business like ours.”
Park said she didn’t want any consideration from the players and that this was not a sponsorship deal. She hopes the move will encourage others to do the same.
It is the largest donation the team has ever received, USWNTPA executive director Becca Roux told Reuters.
“Brands have tremendous power to influence public dialogue on this important issue and we applaud Title Nine for leading and leading efforts to support players and women in every industry,” said Roux.
Title Nine also urges fans to help by going to games and watching women’s sports on TV.
USWNT continues to fight for equal pay
The USWNT players filed their opening letter with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last week, asking the court to overturn the district’s May 2020 decision to dismiss the majority of their lawsuit against the U.S. Football Association for equal pay.
They first filed for gender discrimination in March 2019 before winning their second consecutive World Cup title this summer. A federal judge ruled in May 2020 to dismiss most of their equal pay suit, despite the USWNT and USSF reaching an agreement on unequal working conditions later in the year.
The introductory paper filed by USWNT argues that the summary judgment on equal pay was inherently flawed and it ignored the evidence showing that the USWNT is underpaid compared to its male counterparts.
Part of that argument, detailed in “LFG”, is that the USWNT players made more money than the USMNT during the period of the suit. But the women had to play and win even more games, including the ultimate trophy on the World Cup stage.
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