Following Historic Win In Women’s World Cup, Leahy Calls For Pay Equity For Female Athletes

WASHINGTON (Friday, July 10, 2015) – The 2015 Women’s World Cup drew international attention and record-breaking audiences, yet the athletes who competed this year were compensated far less than their male counterparts.  With soccer fans gathering in New York today to celebrate the U.S. women’s soccer team for its decisive victory over Japan earlier this week, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said Friday that Americans should demand equal treatment for all athletes, regardless of their gender.

“Equal pay for equal work should be a given, but unfortunately this basic principle of fairness is still far from reality.  Young athletes and fans across the globe look to professional sports as a source of inspiration and motivation.  No athletes should be told they are worth less on the playing field simply because of their gender.  This unfair pay disparity for female athletes must end,” Leahy said.  

Next week, Leahy will introduce a Senate resolution calling on the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to immediately eliminate gender pay inequity between male and female athletes.  He said the need to correct this gross disparity was underscored by the fact that the Women’s World Cup winner — the United States — was awarded $2 million after beating Japan in a soccer match that drew 25 million viewers just in the U.S. alone.  By comparison, the 2014 Men’s World Cup winner — Germany — was awarded $35 million for its win over Argentina. 

This disparity “sends a terrible message to women and girls around the world about the value of their contribution to sports,” the Leahy resolution will note.  The resolution will also highlight the fact that Wimbledon – tennis’s top prize – finally implemented an equal prize payment structure for all athletes in 2007, and will urge FIFA to do the same.

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