To Even the Playing Field, Tester Joins Efforts to Ensure Equal Pay for Female Athletes

Senator: “Equal pay for women shouldn’t be a goal, it should be a reality.”

Following reports that the World Cup Champion U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team are compensated far less than their male counterparts, U.S. Senator Jon Tester has signed on to two bills that would level the playing field for women in sports.

“Equal pay for women shouldn’t be a goal, it should be a reality,” Tester said. “The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team is the best in the world, and yet they’re paid far less than their male counterparts. These bills will level the playing field for women in sports, bringing us one step closer to closing the gender pay gap in the United States.”

This spring, the U.S. Women’s National Team—the best women’s soccer team in the world—filed a lawsuit demanding equal payment and working conditions to their male counterparts, who have never won a World Cup tournament. The women’s team now generates more revenue than the men’s team, though the players continue to make less money due to differences in how players receive payment and the amount of money that is awarded for tournament wins. Tester is joining his colleagues in introducing legislation to address massive discrepancies in how U.S. sports teams are paid when it comes to gender.

Tester is cosponsoring two bills that are meant to address gender payment discrimination in U.S. sports:

Even the Playing Field Act – This bill would require the U.S. Olympic Committee to provide equitable pay, investment, and working conditions for female athletes on U.S. national sports teams, as well as coaches, trainers, and other personnel.

FIFA Equal Pay Resolution – This resolution calls on FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, to immediately eliminate gender discrimination between male and female athletes, highlighting the discrepancy between the awards for the Men’s and Women’s World Cup and the success of the 2019 U.S. Women’s National Team.

Tester has been a champion for women’s rights to equal pay throughout his tenure in the U.S. Senate. In March, he penned a letter to the U.S. Soccer Federation with his colleagues urging it to take immediate action to ensure the U.S. Women’s National Team is compensated at an equal level as the men’s team. On Equal Pay Day this year, Tester called on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the Paycheck Fairness Act up for a vote on the Senate floor. The bill was introduced by Tester in the last two Congresses, and has not been voted on since 2014.