Actress turned legal analyst and attorney Kelly Hyman explores the ongoing fight of the United States women’s national soccer team for equal pay.
This year has seen the United States women’s national soccer team scoop its fourth FIFA World Cup final win. Despite this, America’s professional women soccer players continue to face unequal pay, according to Kelly Hyman. An attorney with Franklin D. Azar & Associates in Denver, Colorado, the actress turned lawyer and legal analyst examines the ongoing fight for equal pay in women’s soccer.
“The USA women’s soccer team won its fourth FIFA World Cup championship in 2019,” explains Hyman, “yet they still face the challenge of fighting for equal pay.”
While some have argued that men’s sports are more popular and thus more lucrative, this year, the women’s USA soccer team drew a larger television audience than their male counterparts attracted during the previous year, according to Hyman. Key points, she says, surrounding the issue of equal pay for this year’s women champions center primarily on performance and revenue.
“The women’s FIFA World Cup finals have been held every four years since the first championship in 1991,” Hyman reveals. Incredibly, of the eight championships to date, the United States women’s national soccer team has triumphed in half of all the finals held, making it the most victorious team in the league. “America’s women soccer champions are setting records,” says Hyman, “something which isn’t going unnoticed.”
Indeed, as the United States, women’s national soccer team attracted a record-breaking crowd for the FIFA World Cup final this year, the near-60,000 capacity host stadium began to chant for fair pay. “‘Equal pay! Equal pay! Equal pay!’ erupted from the crowd,” adds Hyman.
Earlier this year, in March, 28 women, each of whom has played on the United States women’s national soccer team, filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. “The suit accuses the organization of not providing the same standard of working conditions or pay,” Hyman explains, “when compared with the men’s soccer league.”
“The women, however,” she continues, “have completely outperformed the men, with the men’s team not even qualifying for the latest FIFA World Cup, for example.”
Kelly Hyman also explains how the women’s team is attracting a much larger television audience. “The women’s event attracted over 14 million American television viewers this year,” the attorney points out, “whereas the men’s championship last year drew only around 11 million, according to Nielsen figures.”
This is further reflected in in-game revenue. “From 2016 to 2018, the women’s games generated $50.8 million in revenue compared to the men’s games bringing in $49.9 million,” points out Hyman. The women players suing the U.S. Soccer Federation, therefore, have numerous highly valid points working in their favor as they dominate men both in terms of TV ratings and revenue, as well as championship performance. “Still,” she adds, “they continue to be paid far less.”
A recent report by The New York Times revealed that the prize money for the 2019 women’s FIFA World Cup was $30 million. This, says attorney Kelly Hyman, pales in comparison to the $400 million paid to the men the previous year. “Congress, however, is beginning to look into the matter,” adds the seasoned legal analyst.
A letter from 50 congress members to the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation has allegedly asked why women are paid so much less than men. “The letter stated that women players make around $30,000 less than male players,” explains Kelly Hyman, “while men also get almost 40 percent more in bonuses.”
“It’s hoped, therefore, that the matter will not only bring more attention to the issue of equal pay across the board,” she adds, wrapping up, “but also more attention to the sport of women’s soccer, helping further boost the salaries of women players.”