Dear Future President,
At this time the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament is the only sporting event in which women and men are paid equally in the United States (usopen.org). In all other sports the wage gap between women and men is vast and isn’t closing anytime soon. Women should receive equal pay for doing the same work. It demeans women to pay them less than men for working as much, as hard and with great success. It keeps women in a time when there where they had no rights.
The women on the U.S. National Women's Soccer Team (USWNT) earn at most $99,000 per season if they win at least 20 of their exhibition matches (this salary diminishes with every loss). The men on the U.S. National Men's Soccer Team (USMNT) will earn $263,320 if they win at least 20 of their exhibition matches and receive $100,000 even if they lose all of these matches (Newsweek.com). On the Today Show, the USWNT goalie Hope Solo said, “We believe now the time is right because we believe it's a responsibility for women's sports, specifically women's soccer, to really do whatever it takes for equal pay and equal rights and to be treated with respect,” (today.com). These women want respect and to feel as valuable as their male counterparts. Not paying women equally for the same work is demeaning and is exactly what Title IX tried to fix for women and girls in school academics and sports in 1972 when the law was passed (thesportjournal.org).
It has been argued that, “...if women’s tennis or weight lifting or cycling were more popular than men’s, they’d be paid more than men,” and some say that men’s sports are more exciting (debatewise.org). This assumption lacks merit. In 2015, during the FIFA Women’s World Cup final match between U.S.A and Japan, approximately 764 million people watched at minimum of one minute of the match (fifa.com). This broke the record for the most watched soccer game in the history of the United States (fifa.com).
Before Title IX women's athletics were recreational and noncompetitive. Women had minimal opportunity to play competitively (thesportjournal.org). In the past, the cultural norm in a society was that women belonged in the house cooking, cleaning and taking care of the children, brushing aside the fact that participating in sports is good for the mind and the body (thesportjournal.org). While Title IX did many things for women's rights it is clear that we have a long way to go as the wage gap is still so large. This wage gap holds women back and prevents society as a whole from moving forward.
Soccer has always been part of my life. Over the last several years I've become a dedicated fan of the USWNT. Watching these strong women work so hard and fight to the very last second of their games is truly empowering and motivating. It's painful for me to see these women disrespected and not get what they deserve. I hope to see our country grow and give women the equal pay they deserve in all fields of work.
Although we have made great strides on the path to gender equality, there are still prevalent aspects of our society in which women are in a position of subordination. It's not about being greedy. It's about respect. Hopefully, we as nation can get past the prejudice and have equal pay for men and women in athletics and every other profession.
St. Paul Central High School