Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is calling for the approval of a bill meant to ensure U.S. athletes, trainers and coaches who are part of Team USA are paid equally regardless of their gender.
The measure, which comes as the U.S. is competing with athletes from around the globe at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, is meant to address ongoing pay inequities among male and female athletes.
“The average woman has to work 15 months just to get paid what the average man earned in one year alone. This unfortunate discrepancy is even more severe for our fierce women athletes on the field,” Gillibrand said. “Women athletes in the United States bring home countless medals and championships, generate more money than their male counterparts in many cases, and represent the United States with poise and determination. It is unacceptable that they face unequal pay back home in the United States."
The bill would require the U.S. Olympic Committee to ensure women competitors are offered equal wages, investment and working conditions to male athletes. It would also tighten eligibility requirements for national governing bodies that oversee sports like soccer to include demonstrations of investment, promotional support, working conditions and wages are free of basis of race, color, religion, sex, age or national origin.
At the same time, national governing bodies would be required to provide equitable support and encouragement for participation by women in the sport, including investment and pay. Congress would receive regular reports from those entities overseeing the sports on compensation practices.
Gender pay disparities were highlighted by the U.S. Women's National Team after winning their fourth World Cup in 2019, but continue to earn 38 cents for every dollar paid to the men's team.