Today there’s reason to focus on another topic related to gender and with ties to a major 1970s milestone.
The big news in gender equality is that the US Soccer Federation announced a new 50-50 split in the way it pays men and women competing for the US national soccer teams. The deal announced on Wednesday means both sides will receive the same pay and prize money, including for participating at World Cups.
The agreement is the result of years of lawsuits and lobbying by players for the spectacular US Women’s National Team.
The idea of the women’s side achieving parity with the fair-to-middling (by international soccer standards) US Men’s National Team is something to celebrate.
“This is a truly historic moment,” said US Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone in a statement on Wednesday, according to CNN’s report. “These agreements have changed the game forever here in the United States and have the potential to change the game around the world.”
It’s not just about money, but also should improve the training and playing environment for American women. Supporters hope the agreement will be a worldwide model.
50 years of Title IX
Another worldwide model for gender equality is Title IX, the civil rights law signed in June 1972, less than a year before the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. It prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal money, including sports.
Title IX has also been the subject of numerous lawsuits and controversies, most recently around how transgender college athletes should be included in competition.
It’s hard not to see the US Women’s National Team’s success as a beneficiary of Title IX and the outsize growth of women’s sports in the US compared with other countries.
While Wednesday’s agreement is another step toward equality, there’s clearly still a long way to go, as I learned when I wrote about Title IX back in 2019 after the US Women’s National Team won their second consecutive World Cup.
Women in sports still make a LOT less money
Despite the revenue-sharing agreement for US soccer, the economics of women’s professional sports are very different than they are for American men.
Brittney Griner is the American basketball player being wrongfully held in Russia.A seven-time Women’s National Basketball Association All-Star, she started playing in Russia in 2015 during the league’s offseason — in search of a larger paycheck than the low six-figure salaries the WNBA offers top players.
The equivalent to Griner in the NBA might be Kyrie Irving, a seven-time All-Star and US national team player who makes tens of millions of …….