Wage gap is still a problem

Krista Pinyan | Contributor

Across every profession women are being paid less than men and the University of San Diego Women’s Center is trying to combat that problem with wage negotiation workshops. Asking for more money can be difficult for anyone but women throughout the workforce are starting to speak up and sometimes even sue for wage discrimination.

Women are typically paid 77 cents to every $1 that male counterparts make in the same job.

Women are typically paid 77 cents to every $1 that male counterparts make in the same job.

In a recent lawsuit members of the U.S. Women’s Soccer team demanded to be paid as much as their male counterparts.  Despite the fact that the Women’s 2015 World Cup finals match against Japan was the most-watched soccer game ever shown on a U.S. tv network, attracting over 25.4 million viewers, Women’s Professional Soccer players are still getting paid far less than men.

The typical woman in America makes 78 cents to every $1 that a man makes, according to The Washington Post. Professional female soccer players are hit with an even larger wage gap.

A recent New York Post article revealed that U.S. women soccer icons are paid nearly four times less than their male counterparts, despite performing better in matches. In addition, U.S. Soccer has high expectations  for the women; they predict the women’s national team to generate $17.6 million from up to 27 matches in the next year. In the same time period, they only expect the men’s team to bring in $9 million for up to 12 matches. Last month, five members of the women’s team filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Some have argued that the men’s team should get paid more, because they bring in more viewers and win more matches. However, this popular discrepancy is actually false.

In addition to the Women’s World Cup in 2015 attracting 26 million viewers— even more than the NBA Finals— the U.S Women’s Soccer team has also won more matches than the men’s team. They have taken home three World Cups and four Olympic gold medals, since 1991. In contrast, the U.S. Men’s Soccer team has only made it to the World Cup quarterfinals one time in the last 50 years.

Alejandro Meter, Spanish professor at USD, is currently teaching a class on “Sports & National Culture”.  Meter talks extensively about soccer in his class. Meter also emphasized that any substantial change will take time.

Professor Meter explained why this topic has taken until 2016 to be brought up in court, despite its long history.

“The fight for justice always takes time,” Meter said. “U.S. Women’s Soccer has been fighting for recognition and for support for a very long time, only to see their budgets decrease, instead of increase, in spite of their impeccable record”.

Sophomore Kelsi Dantu, a member of the USD Women’s Soccer Team is aware of this inequality, too. She claims FIFA is being a bit sexist but doesn’t let the wage gap stop her from playing the sport.

“Not making as much money as a male soccer player has never stopped me from playing, but it has definitely made me consider other career options after my soccer career is over,” Dantu said.

“Sadly, as a woman soccer player,  you have to be realistic about your aspirations. I respect the women soccer players who have chose the love of the game over the money for the game”.

Professor Meter remains an optimist that pay equality will improve.

“I believe that the fight for justice and equality needs to be fought on many fronts,” Meter said. “Sports is no doubt one of them, as shown by the US Women’s Soccer Team struggle for recognition and fair pay. I think they will succeed in the end and it will be an important win for them, both literally and figuratively”.

It may be easy to notice this issue in sports, given that the numbers of the pay for Women’s and Men’s soccer are out in the public. However, this wage gap is also unfair across all social classes.

This income gap has a much bigger impact on women in lower wage careers with some of the largest gaps in retail, teaching, real estate, bartending, and fitness careers.

While the wage-gap remains a problem of concern, women and men at USD can educate themselves on the issue and learn to speak up for fair wages. The Women’s Center and Associated Students will hold a Smart Salary Negotiation Workshop on April 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m., in SLP 412. This interactive workshop is designed to empower students with the skills and confidence to successfully negotiate their salary and benefits packages.

Although this wage-gap remains an issue of debate in professional sports and in many other careers, a first step that women and men can take is to educate themselves on this issue.