Members of of the U.S. women’s national soccer team pose before the start of their game against Belgium at Banc of California Stadium on April 7. (Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Opinion

Opinion: Should women’s soccer get equal pay as the mens?

On Christmas Day 1914, during the first World War, some German and British forces in the front lines of the war dropped all their weapons and celebrated. The one thing that united them was soccer. The idea of kicking a ball has been around for a long time dating back to 5000 B.C in China.…
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/kevin-chen/" target="_self">Kevin Chen</a>

Kevin Chen

April 3, 2021

On Christmas Day 1914, during the first World War, some German and British forces in the front lines of the war dropped all their weapons and celebrated. The one thing that united them was soccer.

The idea of kicking a ball has been around for a long time dating back to 5000 B.C in China. However, it was not until 1863 when the Football Association was formed in England that made the more modern rules of the sport.

Soon, clubs and teams started to show up and spread to the rest of the world. There are two types of teams in this beautiful sport: clubs and international teams. Clubs can consist of any players, whereas internationals consist of players only representing their country. 

Arguably the best sporting event ever, the first men’s world cup was introduced in 1930 consisting of only 13 teams from around the world. Finally, approximately six decades later, the first women’s world cup was held in 1991.

This long wait can be explained by the lack of simple human rights women faced throughout history.

Obviously, with the women’s rights and gender equality movement happening in the last 40 years, this problem has been better dealt with. With both men’s and the women’s side of the sport very dominant today, many critics argue that women’s soccer should receive equal pay as men’s.

In my opinion, women’s soccer does not deserve the same amount of payment as men’s. 

Simply said, the amount paid isn’t about gender, is it about the entertainment that is produced. An example of this can be present in the film industry.

For example, a female actress can still get higher pay than a male actor if she is more entertaining. It wouldn’t make sense to have the actress get paid the same as the male even though she is in bigger movies than him. 

The same concept applies in the sport of soccer. People pay to watch men’s soccer mainly because the talent level on the field is objectively higher than the women’s.

In the first two women’s world cups in 1991 and 1995, the whole tournament only consisted of 12 teams. It has grown to 24 teams in recent tournaments. However, many countries throughout the world do not support women as much as the United States does.

This has been shown by the lack of talent and unfair matches in the tournaments. For example, in the 2019 women’s world cup, Thailand lost to the United States 13-0. Jamaica and South Africa had no point being in the competition with no wins in the group stages.

With the lack of opportunities many women’s teams face in the world, it impacts the whole tournament severely. The men’s teams on the other hand are way more inviting through the players and the team’s legacy. It is common for a fan to support their own national team or a team with great history. It is not achievable for the women’s national teams because of the lack of history of the teams and big player names. 

With the skill and popularity difference between the men’s and women’s, it is obvious that the revenue generated will be different.

According to CNBC, the 2018 men’s world cup generated around $6 billion in revenue. The winner of the competition, France, took home $38 million as the winner prize money. Compared to the 2019 women’s world cup with a lot less.

According to The Wall Street Journal, there is not a specific revenue for the 2019 women’s world cup. With only around $4 million used as winner prize money. Through the data, it is clear to see why the women’s winning team asks for more prize money.

However, anyone with basic math knowledge will know that it is impossible to give more than received. If the women did get equal pay as the men’s, FIFA would have to use revenue from the men’s world cup as the prize money for the women’s. 

It is not sexism that is causing the huge pay gap between women and men. It is simply because the men’s cup is significantly more popular and entertaining for people across the world at this moment. Many don’t realize that fans build an emotional connection with their team over long periods after following and supporting their team.

Compared to the women’s world cup not held until 30 years ago, there just isn’t enough time for the fans to choose their team yet.  

 

Editors note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly wrote a number amount for revenue for the 2019 women’s world cup. It has been updated to accurately represent the real revenue. 

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