Executive Council Statement | Gender Equality

Solidarity with the U.S. Women's National Team Players Association

More than 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act, women still are paid less than men for doing the same job while also facing systemic gender discrimination. This must end. We are proud to stand in solidarity with the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association in its fight to be paid equitably and treated fairly.

Women are paid less than men in nearly every occupation, even when controlling for education and experience. This is unconscionable. Overall, women working full time are paid only 80 cents for every dollar paid to men; the gap is even more pronounced for women of color. For every dollar paid to white non-Hispanic men, African American women are paid only 61 cents, Native American women 58 cents and Latinas 53 cents.

Women in sports are at the forefront of the struggle to achieve equal pay and respect at work. From ice hockey to surfing, from basketball to soccer, women are demanding fair treatment and calling out the sexist double standards that disproportionately reward men for the same work. This unfairness persists even in cases where some women’s teams are outperforming their male counterparts.

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has been a leading force in women’s sports for more than a generation, and includes some of the most accomplished and best-known female athletes in the world. Team members are required to play more games than the men’s team and deliver more victories. They’re four-time World Cup champions, and hold the record for the most goals scored in any Women’s World Cup. They don’t perform the same as their male counterparts—they perform better, and yet are paid less and receive substandard treatment on everything from promotions to travel accommodations.

Women athletes are leading the offensive against gender discrimination. In the labor movement, we know that when we stand together, we can change our workplaces and our communities for the better. We can demand fair wages and dignified treatment. Playing as a team, you learn the power of solidarity—that we can only win when we work together to achieve a common goal.

We are at a critical moment of energy and activism for real gender equality. And we will get there by organizing and fighting together. The U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association can count on the American labor movement to stand strong with them.