Women’s World Cup provokes activists

Story by Nathalia Barr, Managing Editor

The U.S. women’s soccer team made history this summer. The Americans defeated Japan in the most-watched soccer match in U.S. history and became the first women’s team to be celebrated with a New York City ticker-tape parade.

The excitement of many fans was clouded by the glaring differences in the female players’ compensation compared to their male counterparts.

Americans are no strangers to gender pay gaps, as it is the norm in the workplace for women to make about 77 cents to the male dollar. However, the pay differences in athletics turned many on social media into riled-up activists.

After winning the 2014 men’s World Cup, Germany took home $35 million. The U.S. men lost in the Round of 16 and still made $9 million. However, the U.S. women’s team only received $2 million in prize money for first place.

These numbers had social media users raging all over the country, but do they know all of the facts?

Other sports, like tennis, have closed the gender pay gap. This year Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic both made nearly $3 million for winning Wimbledon. Soccer is just one of the few sports that hasn’t caught up yet.

In the case of professional soccer, men make higher salaries, but women are more likely to receive endorsement deals because they are well known. After becoming MVP of the World Cup, Carli Lloyd’s agent received more than 200 endorsement offers.

It’s easy to sit back and say, “This is unfair, and women should make more money.” However, the World Cup’s prize money is based off of how much money it generates. This year’s TV ads for the women added up to $17 million while the men’s total was near $529 million. As a female collegiate athlete, I am definitely an advocate for women’s sports, but when it comes down to it, men’s sports are promoted and viewed more. In general, people are willing to pay more money to watch men than they are to watch women.

The fact that the women’s championship was the most-watched soccer game in American history proves that Americans will watch anything if it gives them the opportunity to root for their country and drape a flag over themselves. When there’s more money put into a sport, the players will receive more compensation.