Congratulations to the U.S. women’s soccer team on their World Cup victory Sunday.

At bars, restaurants and living rooms across Tulsa (and across the nation), aficionados and those who normally pay no attention to the game gathered to watch the final match against the Netherlands and cheer the 2-0 victory. The women played hard, beat their opponents fairly and represented our nation well.

They deserve better treatment by the people who run their sport.

In March, the players filed a federal lawsuit against the nonprofit national governing body of soccer alleging institutional gender discrimination because they are paid much less than players on the national men’s team.

SB Nation reports that the highest paid men’s national team player makes nearly $200,000 more than the highest paid women’s national team player, and similar disparities continue through the teams’ rosters. Because of bonus pay inequities, the men’s team could lose every game and make nearly as much as the women, even if they won every match.

The U.S. women certainly are more successful than the better-paid men. The women’s national team has four World Cup titles, including the past two. The women have won four Olympic gold medals and are recognized as the still dominant team in an improving international field. The men’s team didn’t qualify for the most recent men’s World’s Cup.

The success of the women’s team has sustained the growing popularity of soccer in America, especially among girls. The Guardian reports that in 1972, only 700 girls were playing soccer at the high-school level in the United States. By 1991, the year of the first Women’s World Cup, there were 121,722 high school girl players. In 2018, 390,482 high school girls were playing soccer.

It seems to us that the women’s team is getting less pay for more results, the difference being they are women. That’s not the way it should work.

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