US women’s football team settles gender discrimination lawsuit

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The United States’ national women’s soccer team has settled a lawsuit it brought against its employer last year, resolving the complaint of the World Cup champions over unequal working conditions.

As part of the settlement, which was described in court documents filed on Tuesday, the American Football Federation agreed to adopt and enforce several policies providing for charter resources, hotel rooms, and gaming venues. , pitch surfaces and support services equal to those of the men’s team. .

“We are pleased that the USWNT players have fought for – and achieved – a long overdue level playing field,” Molly Levinson, player spokesperson, said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.

The deal does not resolve the claim of unequal pay for women that galvanized fans and the public as they embarked on the journey to a record-breaking fourth World Cup victory in 2019. This claim has been dismissed more early this year when a judge ruled that the players did not have enough evidence. to bring to justice the key element of their legal action.

Levinson said now that the working conditions claim has been resolved, the players will be moving forward with their plans to appeal the May 1 court ruling on their unequal pay claim.

“We remain as committed as ever in our work to achieve the equal pay we legally deserve,” said Levinson. “We’re focused on the future and making sure we leave the game in a better place for the next generation of women who will play for this team and this country.

In March 2019, 28 members of the 2015 women’s team sued the federation for sex discrimination. In the complaint, the players accused their governing body of failing to change them in terms of pay and working conditions compared to the men’s national team – which did not perform as well, did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup and drew nowhere near record ratings and audiences than their female counterparts.

While women’s and men’s teams are remunerated by different pay structures (women receive fixed salaries while men are only paid if they play), women argued that the men’s team’s total remuneration is higher because the bonuses that men receive are so much greater.

As the coronavirus pandemic put an end to sports in the spring, the federation has come under fire for arguing in legal documents that female athletes are less qualified and have less demanding jobs than their male counterparts.

The comments sparked a protest from the players, who wore their warm-up jerseys backwards, hiding the American football crest ahead of their March 11 game against Japan, as well as retaliation from major sponsors. Hours after the demonstration, Carlos Cordeiro, then president of US Soccer, resigned.

Tuesday’s filing comes days after the women’s national team played their first game since March in the Netherlands, a rematch of the 2019 World Cup final against the Dutch team. Although they haven’t played together in months, the USA team’s players appeared to be in great shape, decisively winning the game 2-0.

“These regulations are good news for everyone and I think they will serve as a springboard for further progress,” American Football President Cindy Parlow Cone said in a statement.

Parlow Cone, a member of the 1999 World Cup champion squad, became the first woman to lead the federation in March following Cordeiro’s resignation.

“As a former USWNT player, I can promise you that I am committed to equality between the USWNT and USMNT,” she said. “My goal is, and always has been, to achieve resolution on all equal pay issues and to inspire a new era of collaboration, partnership and trust between the USWNT and the Federation. ”

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