With the Women’s World Cup beginning on Friday, female footballers are debating how to address disparities in pay, facilities, and prize money—currently 7.5 percent of the men’s 2018 purse.

All 28 athletes on the US women’s team are suing the US Soccer Federation over “institutionalised gender discrimination.” Despite being 2015 World Cup champions, the women were paid less than their male counterparts—who failed to qualify in 2018.

Australia’s “Matildas” are also protesting. Even winning this year’s World Cup would only award them half what Australia’s men received for their 2018 performance—which took the “Socceroos” no further than group stages.

And the planet’s best player, Ada Hagerberg, is boycotting the Women’s World Cup over unimproved working conditions.

But British striker Toni Duggan does not think England’s Lionesses should earn the same as men, acknowledging “they’re on a bigger scale.”

Instead, Duggan wants bigger crowds and better facilities: think natural grass pitches, hot showers—and not having to convince their federations to provide tracksuits or hotel internet passes.

Clubs frequently echo Duggan’s caveat: that women’s football sells fewer tickets, generates less advertising and television revenue, and is less popular.

What should football pay be predicated on? Performance—popularity—matches played—ticket sales?

 

Credit for this article's header image goes to Getty.