There's A Disturbing Gender Wage Gap In Professional Sports

On Sunday, the U.S. women's soccer team defeated Japan in what was one of the greatest World Cup performances of all time. It was the most watched soccer match in U.S. history — for both men and women.

But unlike the winners of the 2014 men's World Cup, the U.S. women won't be bathing in money. Sure, they got a big chunk of change — $2 million for the team in prize money from FIFA — but that's nothing next to what the German men took home: $35 million for the team FIFA. (No, I didn't leave out a decimal point.)

It's a startling difference, I know, but the issue isn't just about prize money. Atlas, a data website, has just released the minimum salaries for professional U.S. athletes, and found something very disturbing. The minimum annual salary for a professional female soccer player is $6,842, which is below the Federal poverty line, while their male counterparts make at least $60,000 — that's nine times more.

The top-earning female soccer player, Marta Vieira of Brazil, earned $400,000 in 2014, whereas the top-earning male soccer player, Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona, made about $71 million.

After women's soccer attracted such a large audience, let's hope the NWSL can do something to narrow this gaping discrepancy in pay between genders.

Graphic: Atlas, Cover Photo: CTgphotography2012/Flickr

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