Rep. Engel, House Colleagues Mark Equal Pay Day

Rep. Engel, House Colleagues Mark Equal Pay Day

Demand Equal Pay for U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team

Washington D.C.– Congressman Eliot L. Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and more than 100 other House Members wrote a letter to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in support of the United States Women’s National Soccer Team’s (USWNT) fight for equal pay. Five members of the USWNT - Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe, and Becky Sauerbrunn - filed a complaint on behalf of their team with the EEOC about a sizeable pay gap between their 2015 FIFA World Cup Champion team and the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team.

“Today is Equal Pay Day – the day at which an American woman’s earning’s finally catches up to her male counterparts’ earnings for the prior year,” Engel said. “Because women make only about 80 cents on average for every dollar men make, women typically have to work for fifteen and a half months to earn what a man makes during a calendar year. All of the best data we have shows a persistent wage gap between women and similarly situated men doing similar work. And the gap grows wider for women of color: black women make 60 cents on the dollar, while Hispanic women make 55 cents on the dollar.

“I was thrilled when our American women won the soccer World Cup last year. These women are the best in the world at what they do, and the entire country watched them prove it. More than 25 million Americans watched the Women’s World Cup final, when the USWNT beat Japan to win the tournament. It was the highest rated soccer match in American TV history – far higher rated than any men’s game – and the 2015 Women’s World Cup earned the U.S. Soccer Federation millions in merchandising and ad revenue – far more than they earned off the men’s tournament.

“But the U.S. Soccer Federation doesn’t pay these women like they’re the best. For winning one of the most prestigious sports titles in the world, team captain Carli Lloyd earned a bonus of $75,000. Meanwhile the bonuses promised if the men’s team had won their tournament were more than five times higher. Imagine if the wage gap were 20 cents on the dollar, instead of 80. That’s what the USWNT is facing right now. Which is why I was pleased to join more than 100 of my colleagues in writing to the EEOC in support of Ms. Lloyd’s and her teammates’ complaint.

“Equal pay for equal work. This idea shouldn’t be controversial, but somehow it still is. I’ve been a longtime supporter of pay equity legislation, from the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which we passed in 2009, to the Paycheck Fairness Act, which is still facing stiff Republican opposition. Carli Lloyd and the rest of the USWNT aren’t even looking for equal pay for equal work – they’re looking for equal pay for being the best in the world. Today, on Equal Pay Day, I’m renewing my longstanding call on House leaders to put an end to workplace gender discrimination and pay every American woman what she’s earned.”