Why ‘Class Action’ Status Makes A Difference In Women’s Soccer Equal Pay Lawsuit

Yes, the U.S. Women’s Soccer team is still fighting for compensation equal to their Men’s team counterparts. We break down the latest

By Laura RiceNovember 11, 2019 1:32 pm,

The U.S. Women’s Soccer team dominated Costa Rica on Sunday – winning 6-0 in a friendly game that closes out the team’s 2019 as one of its best seasons ever. But that’s actually not unusual. The team has been dominant on the field for years – winning six World Cups and closing the season with 20 or more wins a full dozen times now. Still, though, members of the team are in an ongoing fight for equal pay.

Friday, a judge granted their lawsuit ‘class action’ status – making it open to any woman who played or trained with the national team over a specified multi-year period.

“Really opens the door to add additional litigants and also you will have evidence and testimony and narratives coming from other individuals beyond the Megan Rapinoes that we know. So this could be a really big move in the women’s fight for equality,” UT-Austin Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation founding director Daron Roberts says.

Still, Roberts says, he doesn’t believe there will be a quick conclusion to this ongoing litigation.

“But this is one of the milestones, I think, when we look back on sort of the development of how this sort of went down – this is going to be a big move,” Roberts says.

America’s women’s team is not alone in its struggle for equal pay. The Australian women’s team just won its battle for compensation. And, while the problem isn’t isolated to the soccer field, Roberts says it’s so prominent because of the U.S. Women’s Soccer team incredible success.

“They dominate in every tournament that they’re in,” Roberts says. “And so, when you look at their production versus the men, there’s such a national — international, really – sort of highlight to the fact that, ‘wow these women are grossly underpaid and they outperform their male peers.'”

Roberts says performance should not be the only metric when it comes to requiring equal compensation but, he says, it adds another dimension to the story.