By Samindra Kunti
April 3 – On Equal Pay day in the United States, the national women’s team received a financial boost through a pledge from LUNA Bar to pay each member of the World Cup squad a bonus to equal that of their male counterparts.
On Tuesday the nutrition brand aimed at women announced that it will pay each member of this summer’s USWNT at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France a bonus of $31,250 for making the final squad, which will be revealed in the next few weeks.
LUNA said the decision to cover the disparity was taken now rather than to wait for the outcome of the ongoing litigation.
In March Alex Morgan (pictured right) and Megan Rapinoe (pictured centre) were among a group of USWNT players who filed a collective lawsuit against US Soccer in the US District Court for the Central District of California. They argued that the wide disparities in pay between the women’s and the men’s national teams were not a result of market forces. The players went to court to act on what they believe is long-standing inaction from their federation while they outperform the men’s national team.
The USWNT is the most successful team in women’s football history, winning the World Cup three times and the Olympic Games four times. US men’s players will get $55,000 for making the World Cup whereas women’s players only get $15,000. The USWNT get a modest bonus of $1,350 for winning a game and they receive nothing at all they lose a match. The World Cup bonuses itself differ hugely: the men’s team received $9 million for reaching the round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil whereas the women’s team were given a meagre $2 million for winning the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada.
LUNA Bar said in a press release that the money will comprise “the difference between the women’s and men’s World Cup roster bonus.”
“As you can imagine, this got us pretty fired up. We knew we had to do something. And do it now,” the food company said in a statement. “And let’s be clear, this isn’t about their bravery and determination – which they rock in abundance. Or even about the money. It’s simply because, well, they deserve it. As do all women – whether they’re crushing it at work or playing soccer on a global stage. And by sharing their experience publicly, the players of the USWNT become advocates, mentors and role models to women and girls around the world.”
“We were blown away, because often the lens that we see the fight for equal pay is not a fun or pretty or celebratory one,” said USWNT striker Christen Press (pictured right). “It’s a fight. It’s tiring, so it’s kind of a second job off the field.
“But then in this moment, where you have a brand that says, ‘Hey, we believe in you, we believe in you guys as a soccer team, and we believe in you guys as women, and deserving equal pay to your male counterparts, and generally the goal of treating women better,’ it was amazing.”
In 2016 five USWNT players, including former goalkeeper Hope Solo, had similarly filed a complaint which alleged wage discrimination by the US Soccer Federation.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1618294947labto1618294947ofdlr1618294947owedi1618294947sni@o1618294947fni1618294947