Press Releases

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement in support of a resolution she introduced with Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to express the Senate’s support of equal pay for the national women’s soccer team. The resolution was approved unanimously.

“Last month, the national women’s soccer team filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“The complaint states that women are paid just 40 percent of what men are paid—despite the fact that our women’s soccer team has long been one of the best in the world. The team has won four of the last five Olympic gold medals and three of the last seven World Cups.

“However, the wage gap between the men and women’s team is stark. Women are paid $3,600 per game while men are paid $5,000 per game. Women soccer players are awarded a win bonus of $1,350 per game. In contrast, male soccer players are awarded win bonuses of between $6,250 and $17,625 per game.

“That’s up to 13 times more. This differential is so significant that a woman player who wins all 20 exhibition games would still make $1,000 less than a male player who lost all 20 exhibition games.

“Women soccer players are even given smaller per-diems when they travel. Women receive $50 per day, while men receive $62.50 per day. These examples represent the pervasiveness of wage discrimination in this country.

“The most successful women’s soccer team in the world still earns just 40 cents for every dollar earned by men—and that needs to change. The Senate should stand in solidarity with the national women’s soccer team and pass this resolution.

“Of course, what’s happening to the women’s soccer team isn’t an isolated event. It’s indicative of a much broader, entrenched problem in this country.

“Women are still paid just 79 cents for every dollar earned by men. This means that every woman who works full time is paid $10,700 less—every year.

“This gap has a significant effect on the economic security of working families—40 percent of women are the primary or sole breadwinners in their families.

“That means 40 percent of families depend on women’s wages to pay the bills. Every dollar women lose to the wage gap makes a difference.

“Here are just a few examples of what the wage gap costs families: $10,700 is more than one year’s worth of groceries for a family of four, seven months of mortgage and utility payments or 11 months of rent.

“And, the wage gap is even bigger for African-American and Latino women. African-American women are paid just 60 cents. Hispanic women are paid just 55 cents. We can't allow this discrimination to continue.

“The wage gap is a national problem. It affects all women and the Senate must take action. The Paycheck Fairness Act is a good place to start.

“I’ve long supported this bill, which is sponsored by Senator Barbara Mikulski. The Paycheck Fairness Act would protect women from retaliation if they ask about wages and require employers to justify paying women less than men for the same job.

“Women often don’t know they are being paid less than men and making the system more transparent will help reduce the wage gap. The bill would also make it easier for women to take legal action under the Equal Pay Act, including class action lawsuits.

“Under current law, it is significantly easier to recoup lost wages if they were denied through other discriminatory practices—like failure to pay overtime. Lastly, the bill would create a training program to help women negotiate their salaries.

“This is a commonsense bill and one that’s long overdue. President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963. At the time, women made 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. In 53 years, we’ve only closed the gap by 16 cents.

“At this rate, it won’t be eliminated until 2059. Women and their families deserve better and they can’t afford to wait that long. I strongly urge the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and the resolution before us today.

“In closing, the Senate has an opportunity to stand up for equal pay for the women’s soccer team—and all American women—by passing this resolution.”