, the first bill President Obama signed into law. This law supplemented other important federal laws passed by Congress to remedy pay discrimination, namely the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Yet today, the gender pay gap persists. Indeed, what could be more clear than the absurd situation that the victorious women’s soccer team finds itself, forcing them to file a lawsuit against . ,
As of Sunday, the U.S. women's team has won four World Cups — more than any women's soccer team in the world. The men's team has won none. But according to the lawsuit from the women's team, male players stand to make nearly three times as much per game as women. There's also a major pay gap in the prize money awarded by FIFA, the global soccer federation that oversees the tournament. The prize pot for the women's team this year was $30 million — compared to $400 million for last year's Men's World Cup.
With their record-breaking World Cup performance, which attracted a viewing audience of 1 billion people (along with crowds “Equal pay! Equal pay!”), this should not be happening. Just, fuggedaboutit!
But then consider the U.S. labor market generally:
earned by a man. (The gap is bigger for women of color: Compared with white men’s median weekly earnings in 2018, Hispanic women earned just 61.6 percent and black women earned just 65.3 percent.) And it’s getting worse. According to data analysis , the gender wage gap actually widened last year. And some researchers believe the wage gap could be than what’s reported now.
The women's soccer team and U.S. Soccer in June to mediate the lawsuit once the World Cup was over, and we will see how far they get. But for the everyday female worker these days, things are substantially tougher. Once reason, for sure, is that the rights secured by those 1960s-era early civil rights laws are in jeopardy as a result of forced arbitration clauses and class action bans, found in most employment contracts. A 56.2 percent of nonunion private-sector workers are now subject to these clauses and by 2024, it is estimated that more than of the private-sector nonunion workforce will be bound by them. These clauses make private litigation against violators virtually impossible. They allow corporations and businesses to break the law and operate with impunity.
In the New York Times article covering the World Cup win, reporter ,
Few sports teams are asked to carry so much meaning on their shoulders, to represent so many things to so many people, as the United States women’s soccer team. Few athletes are expected to lead on so many fronts at once, to be leaders for equal pay and gay rights and social justice, to serve as the face of both and their . Fewer still have ever been so equipped to handle such a burden, so aware of themselves, so comfortable in their own skin, as those American women.
I know it’s a lot to ask, but … after they succeed in the mediation room and force USSF to pay them what they deserve, may we politely ask one more thing of this amazing team: join the fight to end forced arbitration clauses and class action bans, so female workers at every level have a fighting chance at equality and justice. #EndForcedArbitration