After four World Cup wins and millions of dollars in lost wages, U.S. women soccer players are finally scoring equal pay.
Tuesday, the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) and the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) announced that they had reached a settlement in the team’s equal pay class action lawsuit. President Biden was among the many politicians, advocates, celebrities, and, of course, soccer stars who cheered the settlement on social media.
Filed in 2019 with superstars like Megan Rapinoe leading the charge, the suit alleged that women were getting paid less than their counterparts on the men’s soccer team. The settlement allots $22 million to the players in the lawsuit, plus $2 million to go toward a fund for promoting women’s and girl’s soccer that the players can apply to use.
The team originally wanted $67 million in back pay. But the settlement also comes with the promise that pay for future USWNT players will be equal with men’s teams.
Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and new USSF president Cindy Cone (who succeeded the former president, who oversaw many of the years of pay disparity) shared the good news on Good Morning America. Rapinoe showed some love for host Robin Roberts as both shared in the joy.
“It’s a good day, Robin,” Rapinoe said.
High-profile supporters of the team and the equal pay movement also celebrated on social media. That included truly goals-worth interactions between fellow icons Rapinoe, Hillary Clinton, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
While the settlement is certainly momentous, the USSF is only one part of the equal pay equation. Much of the disparity also comes from the international soccer organization FIFA, which awards prize money to players in World Cup tournaments. The USSF says FIFA awards less money to women than to men, which is part of the reason for the gender gap. Rapinoe told ESPN that, going forward, the USWNT and the USSF can lobby FIFA to right this wrong together.
There is still work to be done with FIFA, and the women’s player’s union and the USSF still have to finalize a collective bargaining agreement. But players past and present took a moment Tuesday to cheer on the settlement.
Celebrities and fellow athletes, including Billie Jean King, gave props to the team, too.
Alexis Ohanian, husband of Serena Williams, Reddit founder, and the lead founding investor in the new women’s Los Angeles soccer team, sent one up with a well-chosen gif.
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.