With the recent release of the FIFPro 2017 study regarding the employment of female players around the globe, the findings were significant. This study surveyed over 3,300 women worldwide who play at the top of their country’s leagues, and the most obvious and significant point of disparity is the issue of pay. This study also showed other findings regarding racism and sexism in various countries; and highlighted how these issues also need to be addressed by sports governing bodies.
Equal Pay On the Score Board
The pay issue is the most serious, with this survey showing that about 60% of female players make $600 or less per month after taxes, meaning many female players work additional jobs to make a living. This leads to about 40% of players quitting the sport to pursue other careers, and this is a huge loss.
Women’s soccer has long been sidelined, with many players earning barely liveable salaries and not receiving recognition at all for their skills. With the US women’s soccer team leading the way in the fight for equality, they are emerging as a role model for fellow women’s teams around the world.
The US team started their fight two years ago and have since been advising fellow teams on the way forward. This first stand by the US has led to further stands; for example, the Norwegian team players demanded and won equal pay for their team when compared to their counterparts, and this is certainly a giant leap forward.
As US midfielder Christen Press has stated, women are pulling together across sports and jobs, realizing that that all these people are on the same journey, and connecting with each other for support is incredibly important.
Levelling the Playing Field
Players like Maya Moore, a WNBA Minnesota Lynx forward, have also voiced the obvious issues faced by women’s leagues. She says the issue is visibility, with the budget for the promotion of female soccer tournaments a bare minimum, while the men’s budgets are huge.
Another issue Maya raises is the double standards in actual play, with female players being set impossibly high standards, although she feels that women can rise above these expectations and show their greatness.
Additionally, hard working women like Canada’s top female soccer player, Stephanie Labbe now pushing to join the men’s league, things are slowly changing. Stephanie Labbe is currently Canada’s goalkeeper and has earned 49 caps for Canada.
Stephanie has stated she at first received a lot of push back in her attempts to join the men’s league. But after finding an open-minded coach, someone who would judge her on her soccer skills instead of her gender, she is now in training with the men’s team Calgary Foothills.
Head Coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr., is willing to give any player a shot based on their soccer skills. Hopefully, just like in the world of Poker and online casino games, women will soon be able to play alongside men judged solely on their skills, and Wheeldon Jr’s view on giving any player a chance regardless of their gender will become a standard across the board.
Working Towards Equal Rights
The pay parity has once again recently been brought to the attention of the FA. But with FIFA now announcing their intention to create an international women’s soccer league, perhaps the pay parity for women in the beautiful game is finally being addressed?
This competition is being proposed to increase the visibility and popularity of women’s soccer; with many people believing the pay difference between men and women’s soccer is the appeal of the female version of the game.
Although this new tournament and league created by FIFA is also feared to have a potentially negative affect on the current quadrennial tournaments and make them less noteworthy. There are currently two tournaments already being held every four years, the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Olympic Games, but the hope is that the sport enjoys so much growth that both current and new tournaments and leagues can thrive.
This change from FIFA might signal that the growing voices of the women in soccer are finally being heard, but the public and the women in soccer will have to keep working on recognition and not sit back hoping for a change.