Women’s potential in sports has been doubted since the beginning of time. Even the founder of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin said in 1896, “No matter how toughened a sportswoman may be, her organism is not cut out to sustain certain shocks.”
This doubt expressed by Coubertin has only been stimulated by the introduction of sports coverage and the growth of this sector. While 40% of sportspeople are women, only 6-8% of the sports media coverage follows women. This not only translates to the differences in amounts players make both each match but also the sponsorships they receive which is where many players really make most of their money. Rencently, Forbes released the 2019 highest paid athletes and out of the 100 people on the list only one, Serena Williams at #63, was a woman. One may optimistically assume that this year is just a little different than past years, more of an outlier. However, this year is follows the trend of many past years with only female tennis players every cracking the top 100 since the list has existed.
For many female athletes they are tired of these inequities and have started to demand equal pay. The United States Women’s Soccer Team is leading this movement. In March of 2019 the women’s team filed a lawsuit against their employer, the United States Soccer Federation claiming that the USSF is in violation of the U.S. Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. In one hypothetical case mentioned in the lawsuit, if both teams one 20 straight games in a season the women would only earn 38% of what the men due for the same exact job. Their spokeswoman Molly Levinson spoke on the matter shortly after the Women's World Cup win, “At this moment of tremendous pride for America, the sad equation remains all too clear, and Americans won’t stand for it anymore. These athletes generate more revenue and garner higher TV ratings but get paid less simply because they are women. It is time for the Federation to correct this disparity once and for all.”