Elle magazine is late to the game, and doesn’t break much if any new ground, in this examination of the struggle by the U.S. women’s team for equal pay and equal treatment.
The story mentions the oft-cited discrepancies in compensation for members of the U.S. men’s team compared with the women: a $75 travel per diem for men, $60 for the women; $3,750 for a male player who appears at a sponsor’s event, $3,000 if it’s a woman. (Never mind that the women is very probably the bigger star, with the bigger following.)
It notes, as many others have, that if the men lose every game in a calendar year, they still earn more ($100,000) than the women do if they win every game ($99,000).
It points out the absurd salary gap between Jill Ellis, the U.S. women’s coach who got a raise to $250,000 after winning the World Cup, and Jurgen Klinsmann, the U.S. men’s coach who rakes in $3.2 million a year despite his profoundly modest accomplishments.
In 2011, the year Klinsmann arrived (arrow in graph), the U.S. men’s team was ranked 34th in the world. Today, it’s No. 31.
To her credit, the Elle writer, Chloe Schama, is under no illusion that the wrongs will be righted.
They may be infuriating and shameful and unfair, but in all probability, she writes, “these inequalities are not illegal. This is simply the state of so-called equal rights in … any situation in which a working woman finds herself treated as lesser than her male peer.”
The women’s team signed its collective bargaining agreement, and the men’s team separately signed its, and most of the disparities are codified in those documents.
In other words, Schama writes,
All this is justifiable according to the agreements governing how the players get paid. But just because something is legitimate according to a contract doesn’t make it right. Arguments that rest on “the rules” have a tendency to disadvantage those who have traditionally been outside the bodies who make them—funny how that happens.