Currently, the United States women’s soccer team is suing the United States Soccer Federation via a gender discrimination lawsuit. This serious lawsuit claims they receive less pay, despite playing more games than the men’s team and winning more games as well.
The women’s team has qualified for its fourth FIFA World Cup win but still face pay discrepancies when compared to the men’s team. Additionally, the amount of coverage for women’s sports is not equal to the level of interest among the public. In fact, in 2014, as much as 94 percent of coverage went to men’s sports while only 3.2 percent went to solely women’s games and 2.4 percent included both genders.
The soccer team alleges that the medical care they are given and the coaching they obtain as well as how often they play or even travel to matches face gender discrimination. However, this lawsuit is not the first time that women have fought for equality in sports.
For example, Billie Jean King was a tennis star who founded the Women’s Tennis Association and fought for women tennis players to earn the same prize money in tournaments with players of both sexes. King also handily beat Bobby Riggs in a Battle of the Sexes tennis tournament.
Another example comes from Kathrine Switzer, who was the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon in 1967. Switzer had to enter her name as “K.V. Switzer” in order to hide her gender. In the first two miles, an official actually attempted to remove her from the marathon but failed. She became the first woman to finish the race as a true entrant.
Venus Williams is another icon that led women’s rights in sports. In 2006, Venus Williams wrote an op-ed titled Wimbledon Has Sent Me a Message: I’m Only a Second Class Champion. Williams and others pressured Wimbledon until it was announced, in 2007, that female tennis players would receive the same amount of prize money as the male tennis players.
Women’s rights in sports have come a long way, but more is still to come, as the United States women’s soccer team strives to gain equal pay and better treatment akin to their male counterparts.