USWNT fights for equal pay as it fights to defend World Cup title

Notes Neena K. Chaudhry, senior counsel of the Washington-based National Women’s Law Center: “You can’t just say, ‘The market doesn’t want to pay women as much without asking, ‘How much are the women being supported? Publicity is a part of their claim.”

Chaudhry believes the players have a strong legal case. Many of their complaints — the inferior playing fields, lack of charter flights, insufficient promotion and publicity compared with their male counterparts — echo the recurring discrimination Chaudhry has litigated at every level of education for girls.

“As somebody who has worked on Title IX my whole career, sadly, this is nothing new,” she said. “Yet I think we’re seeing more and more female athletes stepping up and talking about these issues at the professional level. . . . I really don’t see how the federation justifies this blatant discrimination.”

In Chaudhry’s experience, the decision to file a lawsuit is typically the last resort, when all other options have been exhausted,

“Fighting for equality is work,” Chaudhry said. “It is work that is uncompensated, on top of the unequal pay that you’re getting. And it is emotional labor. That’s something that doesn’t get talked about a lot. These women deserve our gratitude for taking a stand.”