One of the leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidates tried to make a case for the U.S. women’s soccer team being paid the same as the men’s team — but she inadvertently undercut her own argument.
Sen. Kamala Harris of California has been politicizing the World Cup since it started.
As the U.S. Women’s National Team takes the field against Thailand today, the players are also fighting to be paid equally. Let’s not forget the fight off the field. It’s time we pay our USWNT equally. https://t.co/KHqBcFB9RW
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 11, 2019
Over the weekend, she continued this trend — and took a shot at the men’s team.
“The USWNT scored more goals in their first World Cup match against Thailand than the U.S. men’s team scored in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups combined,” Harris tweeted Saturday. “We’re beyond past time to pay these championship athletes what they deserve.”
The USWNT scored more goals in their first World Cup match against Thailand than the U.S. men’s team scored in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups combined. We’re beyond past time to pay these championship athletes what they deserve. https://t.co/S2BdFYZCMT
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 29, 2019
If Harris wants to argue that the women’s team should be paid more money, that’s fine. She has that right.
However, to suggest they deserve more based on their skill level relative to the men is a terrible argument.
The reason the U.S. women have scored more goals than the men is that the competition is significantly worse.
In the first round of the World Cup this year, the U.S. women beat Thailand 13-0. The fact that they scored 13 goals and dominated Thailand doesn’t mean they’re more skilled than the U.S. men; it just shows the lack of competitiveness in the women’s game.
No team has ever won by a 10-goal margin in a men’s World Cup, where the competition is much more intense and there’s a lot more parity between teams.
There is a serious gap in skill level between the U.S. men’s and women’s teams, so it makes zero sense to try to compare them on the basis of skill.
After all, the U.S. women’s team lost 5-2 to the under-15 FC Dallas boys club in 2017.
The U.S. men’s team has never played the women’s team. However, the fact that Megan Rapinoe and company lost to a team of young teenagers should give one an indication of how that game would go.
From a financial standpoint, there is also no comparison between the men’s and women’s teams.
The men attract a lot more eyeballs and gain much more revenue than the women.
Financially, the 2010 men’s World Cup generated about $4 billion in revenue. This was far greater than the approximately $73 million the women’s tournament earned in 2011, according to CBS.
The women make $3,600 per game, while the men make $5,000, according to Vox. The women got $15,000 bonuses for winning the 2014 World Cup, while the men got $55,000 apiece for making it to the Round of 16 in 2015.
In March, 28 players from the women’s team filed a discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer. Their argument is that the disparity in pay between them in the men violates the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
If Harris wants to help the women out, perhaps she should stop arguing for their pay raise on the basis of skill — because she is only hurting their case by doing it.
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