On Wednesday, the U.S. women's national soccer team reached a first-of-its-kind deal with the U.S. Soccer Federation that closes the gender wage gap and ensures equal pay with the men's national team.
The collective bargaining agreements between U.S. Soccer and the men's and women's national teams are the culmination of a years-long fight for pay parity.
"This is a truly historic moment," U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone said in a statement. "These agreements have changed the game forever here in the United States and have the potential to change the game around the world."
Under the agreements, which run through 2028, U.S. Soccer will become "the first Federation in the world to equalize FIFA World Cup prize money" awarded to the teams for participating in World Cups, according to the announcement.
The agreements also ensure that players on the women's and men's teams will be paid identical appearance fees and game bonuses, as well as share an equal portion of the profits U.S. Soccer makes from its broadcast, partner or sponsorship deals.
In addition to compensation, the agreements outline new and enhanced benefits to provide child care, parental leave and protections that guarantee equal quality of venues and field playing surfaces for both teams, among other stipulations.
In 2016, five U.S. women's soccer stars — Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd and Becky Sauerbrunn — filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Then in 2019, 28 members of the USWNT filed a lawsuit against the USSF for gender discrimination and unequal pay.
Earlier this year, the U.S. women's national soccer team agreed to a $24 million settlement with the U.S. Soccer Federation in their lawsuit over unequal pay with the men's national team. The settlement, however, was contingent on the ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement for USWNT and U.S. Soccer.
Wednesday's announcement comes six months before the men's national team is slated to compete in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
"I am feeling extreme pride," U.S. Women's National Team defender Sauerbrunn said in an interview with NBC's "TODAY." "To be able to say finally, equal pay for equal work feels very, very good," she said.
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