Brazil Announces Equal Pay: The Fight For Equity In Soccer

Sarah Zambrano, Contributing Writer

National Soccer teams around the world are moving toward securing equal pay for their women and men’s teams. Some countries, like New Zealand, have already implemented a policy that closes the gender-pay-gap. On the other hand, other countries are still in the midst of this long and overdue battle. Brazil is one of the latest countries to announce an equal-pay policy for their men and women’s national soccer teams. This announcement comes months after The U.S. Women’s National Soccer team lost their ongoing suit against the U.S. Soccer Confederations, demanding they receive equal pay to their male counterparts. After The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team lost their trial, several countries have taken progressive steps toward implementing an equal-pay policy for their respective teams. The road to Brazil implementing and announcing equal pay for their National soccer teams started during their time in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.  

After the Brazilian women’s national soccer team underwent a downhearted defeat in the 16th round of the Women’s World Cup, team leader and forward, Marta Vieira da Silva, delivered a heartfelt message that went beyond the game of soccer. The message Silva delivered to the next generation of female soccer players, explained that women were one of empowerment and encouragement. Silva urged the next generation to keep working hard at their sport or at whatever they do. In an inspiring anecdote, Silva stated women could fit any role that they set their ambitions to. This vocalization from Silva on women’s empowerment ignited an insurgent spark for gender equality. Fast-forward to a year later, and we are finally seeing Brazil implement equal pay for their women and men’s national soccer teams.  

In the U.S., the fight for equal pay still continues. This fight started among professional soccer teams when the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team filed a 67 million dollar lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federations. The lawsuit was filed as a gender-discrimination lawsuit on the grounds of the U.S. Soccer Federations violating the Equal Pay Act of 1963. The lawsuit claimed that despite the U.S. Women’s Soccer team generating more revenue, the players were being wrongfully denied equal pay for equal work, solely based on their gender. Unfortunately, the case was lost in a Federal Court in California, on the grounds that men and women are paid according to the adjusted conditions given. “We look forward to trial next year after the world cup,” the players’ responded only hours after they had lost the historic case. Despite this short-term loss, a long-term victory was now within eyesight. Despite being unsuccessful, this lawsuit managed to lay out the foundational blocks for other nations to pass equal pay in sports. Just this past week, Brazil became one of those countries to ensure equal pay for equal work.

Rogerio Caboclo, chief of the Brazilian Football Association, stated, “there is no more gender difference. The CBF will be treating women and men equally.” The women on the Brazilian National Soccer team will now be paid the same as Neymar and Roberto Firmino, two global Brazilian soccer-stars. Brazil has become one of the global models and leaders in a fight that is long from over. The implementation of equal pay for male and female counterparts acknowledges the hard work that women put into their respective sports. Moreover, the ongoing global-wide battle for equal pay in soccer is one rooted in an issue that is evident even outside of the world of athletics. The call for equal pay for professional teams within the world of soccer is one part of a long battle for gender equality within society.