Former US soccer captain Megan Rapinoe (Image: EPA/Christophe Petit Tesson)

Members of the US women’s soccer team reached a landmark equal pay settlement with the US Soccer Federation yesterday. The settlement ends a six-year legal battle and promises a US$24 million bonus to match those of the US men’s team. Makes sense, considering they’ve outperformed the men’s team on the world stage for years.

Probably more significant is the federation’s promise to equalise pay between the men’s and women’s national teams in the teams’ next collective bargaining agreements. This move will see millions of dollars pushed towards a new generation of women’s national team players.

The equal pay settlement is being widely celebrated as a win for women and equal pay across the board. 

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As former US women’s soccer team captain Megan Rapinoe says: “When we win, everyone wins!”

Democratic nomination hopeful Elizabeth Warren said it straight, tweeting, “It’s 2022, and women shouldn’t have to keep fighting for equal pay.”

The US women’s soccer team joins Ireland, Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, England and Brazil in paying female players equal match fees. But in all countries the men will likely keep out-earning women due to the greater prize money on offer.

Meanwhile in Australia’s favourite sport — Aussie rules — there remains a significant gender pay gap between the women’s and men’s codes. The average player salary in the men’s competition in 2018 was $362,471, while women players were paid between $13,400 and $24,600 per season to play the game — all while working other jobs so they could do things like eat and pay rent. 

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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