Separate but not equal: A look at women’s sports pay and coverage

By Tess Fox

Separate but not Equal Pay for Women’s Soccer Players

According to an article on ESPNW, , five soccer players, including Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan, have filed charges against the U.S. Soccer Federation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of the U.S women’s soccer team. Solo, Lloyd and Morgan are some of the star players on their team.

Their charges cite the USSF’s 2015 financial report, which shows that the women’s team made almost $20 million dollars more than the U.S. men’s team, yet the players on the women’s team are paid nearly four times less.

The U.S. women’s soccer team

Anyone who doubts that women are paid less than men, here’s your proof.


The women filed the suit after realizing that no one was going to make any effort to help them.


“I’ve been on this team for a decade and a half, and I’ve been through numerous CBA negotiations, and honestly, not much has changed,” Solo said. “We continue to be told we should be grateful just to have the opportunity to play professional soccer, to get paid for doing it.”

If this women’s team is putting more butts in seats than the men’s team, doing as much work and playing the same game, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be making more than the men. Their net value is higher, so going off of that, they should be paid more.

The suit filed is asking for equal pay.

“In this day and age, it’s about equality,” Solo said. “It’s about equal rights. It’s about equal pay. We’re pushing for that. We believe now the time is right because we believe it’s our responsibility for women’s sports and specifically for women’s soccer to do whatever it takes to push for equal pay and equal rights. And to be treated with respect.”

The USSF said that it was disappointed to hear of the charges and are proud of the commitment they have made to women’s sports.

“Our efforts to be advocates for women’s soccer are unwavering,” the statement said. “For 30 years, we have been a world leader in promoting the women’s game and are proud of the long-standing commitment we have made to building women’s soccer in the United States and furthering opportunities in soccer for young women and girls around the world.”

Typical public relations crap. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I live in the 21st century.


Separate but not Equal Coverage for Women’s Teams

The fact that ESPN Women even exists is a sad thing. Women being paid less than men for the same work isn’t a story that should be exclusive to ESPNW. This should be on “regular” ESPN as well. Because it is news. I couldn’t even find this story on the ESPN homepage. I found the briefing on ESPNW.

ESPN is the world’s main source for sports news. The busy website is full of stats from recent sports games, headlines about baseball (it’s opening season for the Major League Baseball) and other sports-related topics. The only headline concerning women is “Hardy: ‘I’ve never put my hand on any woman.’” Yes, the only story concerning a woman on ESPN is about a football player who claims he’s never hit a woman in his life. His girlfriend accused him of domestic violence last year. I think the photos speak for themselves.

ESPNW is where women can go to read about women things, like women’s sports and women’s issues in sports culture. It’s here that you can read about the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. From looking at ESPN’s website, you’d never guess that any of this was evening happening. It’s like women’s sports don’t exist outside the bubble of ESPNW.

The media’s job is to report the facts. When ESPN separates their websites into “for men” and “for women,” they’re doing a disservice to both men’s and women’s teams.

Some will argue that women’s sports aren’t as popular, which is why they aren’t talked about or televised or cared about or players are not paid for doing the same work. But maybe all those things happen because they’re not properly covered. We’ve been trained to not care about them. ESPN continues to support the idea that women’s and men’s sports coverage should be separated by only covering men’s sports on ESPN and women’s on ESPNW.

And I understand that part of it is marketing. There are some things that women will be more interested in than men and vice versa. So on that level, it makes sense for separation. But the separation can still be featured on the main ESPN in a tab at the top of the page. There are a number of blogs on ESPNW that could be easily shifted to the main ESPN page.

Or, there could be ESPN News and ESPN Extras. The News branch would have game previews and recaps, brackets and other news-related content. The Extras branch could feature the blogs, culture and lifestyle aspects of ESPN.

When it comes down to it, they’re all sports. They’re all news. It doesn’t matter who is playing the sports.

A united ESPN conglomerate could be slow to catch on. However, it could bridge the gap between men’s and women’s sports, as well as provide everyone with the news. Sports culture is behind the times. An integrated ESPN could help further a culture of acceptance in the sports world. It could help bring more attention to the fact that women’s athletes are paid in pennies compared to the thousands that the male athletes make.


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