This weekend, the US Women’s National Team won the World Cup for a record fourth time. On the heels of Independence Day, the victory brought with it a rousing political debate about equal pay and gender discrimination.
In March, 28 members of the USWNT sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for discrimination. The athletes claim to generate more revenue than the men’s team while garnering higher TV ratings, but say they are paid less simply because they are women. The prize money for the 2018 men’s World Cup was $400 million while the female players this year will receive $30 million. In 2015, when the USWNT won the cup, the team was paid $1.725 million while the previous year’s U.S. men’s team was awarded $5.375 million after losing in the round of 16.
During Sunday’s victory celebration in France, the crowd started chanting, “equal pay!” But the die-hards aren’t the only ones chanting. Monday morning, Snoop Dogg took to Instagram to stand up for the women, saying, “pay them girls what they worth.”
Soccer may be having an awakening on the issue, but what’s happening in the music business? Have we let our guard down? Gender discrimination was a hot topic last summer when Haim revealed that they were paid 10x less than a male counterpart to headline a similar festival. They fired their agent, a lot of research was done, and it was discovered that the ‘Big 3’ labels had significant pay gaps in terms of industry employees: 23% at Sony, 30% at Universal, and 49% at Warner. Women also fill only 31% of leadership positions at those same companies.
But there are bright spots. When Atlantic Records, a label run by a woman, Julie Greenwald, crushed it at the 2018 Grammy’s, it was widely publicized that she keeps a 50/50 gender distribution among label staff. There are also amazing music-adjacent companies, such as the female-founded Yola mezcal company, doing the hard work of gender equality. They’re hosting an all-woman festival in L.A. on August 18th. Who else is making these kinds of strides? And what more can the music business do to right these wrongs?
The USWNT may not be heading to the White House anytime soon, but you can greet them this Wednesday in NYC when the victory parade takes over Broadway, aka the Canyon of Heroes. The festivities end at City Hall Plaza where Mayor de Blasio will present the champs with keys to the city. As team captain Megan Rapinoe said on IG, quoting the late, great, Nipsey Hussle: “Ain’t really trip on the credit, I just paid all of my dues. I just respected the game, now my name all in the news. The Marathon Continues.”