Gender pay gap | What US women's football team equal pay deal means for HR

What US women's football team equal pay deal means for HR

The US women’s international football team has reached a landmark agreement which will see them paid the same amount as their male counterparts.

As reported by the BBC, the women’s soccer team, which has overwhelmingly outperformed the men’s team in terms of sporting success – including four World Cup triumphs and five Olympic gold medals – will receive around £17.7million (equal to $24million).

The sport's governing body in America, US Soccer, has also pledged equal pay for the men's and women's teams across all future competitions, including the World Cup.

All 28 squad members filed a discrimination lawsuit in March 2019, the BBC said.

The national broadcaster further reported that five senior members of the USA's World Cup-winning team had initially filed a complaint against the national federation for wage discrimination in 2016.

Their initial bid for equal pay involved a claim of £52million in damages ($66million) was dismissed by a court in May 2020, leading to an appeal.

The US Soccer Federation then offered identical contracts to its men's and women's national teams in September in a bid to resolve the gender pay dispute.

In a joint statement, US Soccer and USWNT said: "We are pleased to announce that, contingent on the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement, we will have resolved our longstanding dispute over equal pay and proudly stand together in a shared commitment to advancing equality in soccer.

“Getting to this day has not been easy. The USWNT players have achieved unprecedented success while working to achieve equal pay for themselves and future athletes.

"Today, we recognise the legacy of the past USWNT leaders who helped to make this day possible, as well as all of the women and girls who will follow."

Gender pay gaps persist

While the victory for these female athletes took place overseas, the issue has thrust the gender pay dispute across the globe back under the spotlight.

And the UK still requires improvement in this regard, according to recent data which indicated that eight in ten of the UK’s most popular job roles have a gender pay gap in favour of men.

This is according to CIPHR, which reviewed stats from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) regarding men’s and women’s median hourly rates of pay to find out which occupations, industries and geographical locations have the widest and smallest gender pay gaps in 2021.

The ONS website explained that the gender pay gap is “calculated as the difference between average hourly earnings (excluding overtime) of men and women as a proportion of men’s average hourly earnings (excluding overtime)”.

What the data found

The study revealed that 65 of the top 78 jobs (83%) with the largest number of workers in the UK, pay men more on average.

Over 17.6million people are employed in these occupations (9.4million women and 8.2million men), with the average gender pay gap (as of April 2021) ranging from -13.8% for EAs and personal assistants to 30.8% for financial managers and directors.

While many of these roles do have a lower gender pay gap than the UK average, the women in these roles are still paid less than men overall, the study uncovered.

The recent survey from CIPHR also found that most workers underestimated their employer’s gender pay gap, with over half (57%) believing that no wage gap exists where they work.

Elsewhere, the data found that the most popular three occupations for 2021 are sales and retail assistants, care workers and home carers, and administrative/ clerical assistants.

The average gender pay gaps for these roles are five per cent, 1.7% and 10.5% respectively, despite women comprising the majority of workers in them.

In addition to this, nursing is the fourth largest occupation in the country – 86% of which are women. It has a four per cent gender pay gap in favour of men.

In the UK, women make up the majority (64%+) of the workforce in seven of the top ten jobs with the most staff. All except one have gender pay gaps in favour of men.

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