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Women's Team Sues Over 'Institutionalized' Discrimination

Soccer players want better pay, along with back pay
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 8, 2019 12:06 PM CST
United States' Tobin Heath, second from right, is congratulated on her goal by Mallory Pugh (11), Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan in a soccer match against Brazil Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Tampa, Fla.   (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

(Newser) – Players for the US women's national soccer team have filed a federal gender discrimination lawsuit seeking pay that is equitable to that of their male counterparts. The action comes just three months before the team will defend its title at the Women's World Cup in France, per the AP. The players allege that they have been subject to ongoing "institutionalized gender discrimination," including unequal pay, despite having the same job responsibilities as players on the men's national team. The 28 members of the current national team player pool joined in the class-action lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation, which was filed Friday in federal court in Los Angeles under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

"We believe it is our duty to be the role models that we've set out to be and fight to what we know we legally deserve," says forward Christen Press. "And hopefully in that way it inspires women everywhere." The players are seeking equitable pay and treatment, in addition to damages including back pay. The US Soccer Federation didn't have an immediate comment. The USSF has maintained in the past that much of the pay disparity between the men's and women's teams results from separate collective bargaining agreements. The US Women's National Team Players Association was not party to the lawsuit, but in a statement said it "supports the plaintiffs' goal of eliminating gender-based discrimination by USSF."

(Read more US women's soccer stories.)

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