Following the US women's national soccer team World Cup win in a 2-0 victory against the Netherlands, fans showed their support by calling for "equal pay" from the stands. The crowd began chanting as Gianni Infantino, the president of Fédération Internationale de Football (FIFA), took to the stage to present the team with their medals.
The latest world cup win marks the fourth title for the US women's team while the men's team has yet to win one. Despite this, women earn significantly less than their male counterparts.
CNN reports that the total prize money for the 2018 men's World Cup was $400 million, while this year the women will receive $30 million. Infantino said they would double the women’s total prize money to $60 million in 2023, but the US teams midfielder Megan Rapinoe was not satisfied with the answer.
Prior to the final, Rapinoe said, “It certainly is not fair. We should double it now and then use that number to double it or quadruple it for the next time.”
Rapinoe, who scored one of the winning goals, also discussed the league's decision to schedule the women's World Cup final on the same day as two men's international finals - the Copa American final and the Gold Cup.
“That’s a terrible idea to put everything on the same day, in every way,” Rapinoe said. “I don’t think that we feel the same level of respect certainly that FIFA has for the men and just in general,” adding, “If you really care, are you letting the gap grow, are you scheduling three finals on the same day? No, you’re not.”
Earlier this year, 28 members of the United States women's national soccer team filed a lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation for gender discrimination, citing, "Despite the fact that these female and male players are called upon to perform the same job responsibilities on their teams and participate in international competitions for their single common employer, the USSF, the female players have been consistently paid less money than their male counterparts. This is true even though their performance has been superior to that of the male players - with the female players, in contrast to male players, becoming world champions.”
The US team aren't the only female sports stars demanding to be paid the same as the men. Despite recent research suggesting that income disparity between female and male athletes has narrowed significantly over the past few years - there's still a long way to go.
A total of 83 per cent of sports now reward men and women equal prize money, according to a study of 68 different disciplines published by BBC Sport last year. Cricket, golf and football are among the worst offenders, as well as darts, snooker and squash.
In the 2018 Forbes Top 100 list of highest paid sports stars, just one female made the cut - Serena Williams.
In 2015, New Zealander Lydia Ko became the youngest player of either gender to ever be ranked number one in professional golf. But that year she earned less than the male ranked 25th in the world. In cricket, the male team can earn almost seven times more than the women's team. Australia’s women’s soccer team, the Matildas, went on strike over the question of pay last year.
As women continue to fight for equal opportunity in all workplaces, the fields, arenas and courts have been and will continue to be, no exception.