I am so proud of Team USA, our 2015 Women’s World Cup Champions. I congratulate them for their skill, prowess and magnificent play. I commend them for their extraordinary accomplishment, an accomplishment that captivated audiences here in our own city and around the world. This team has done something no other women’s soccer team has done before: win three World Cups. I thank Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for asking that New York City honor these amazing athletes, and commend Mayor Bill de Blasio for so swiftly announcing a parade and putting the resources into making it happen. It is an exciting day for New York City and for women athletes in the city, the state, and indeed, throughout the country.
My jubilation is somewhat tempered, however, by the fact that—although Sunday night’s telecast of the finals match between the USA and Japan was the highest-rated soccer match in US history and outperformed the NBA and Stanley Cup finals—the players made 40 times less than the men’s world cup players. When questioned about this vast discrepancy in pay, FIFA leadership opined that, because the women’s cup has been played for a shorter period of time than the men’s, the women have many years to go to `catch up.’ The gender pay gap in other professional sports such as golf and tennis also exists, although not as vast as in soccer.
Why is this important? Because it is exemplar of a persistent gender pay gap. Studies have consistently shown that women are typically paid 78% of what men are paid. Over a lifetime of work, the total estimated loss of earnings of women compared with men is $700,000 for a high school graduate, $1.2 million for a college graduate and $2 million for a professional school graduate. And there is a direct causal link between pay inequity and poverty—more than one in seven women, nearly 180 million, lived in poverty in 2013, with about 43% of these women living in extreme poverty.
Of the 205 ticker tape parades this city has hosted in the “Canyon of Heroes,” today’s parade marks the first time we have honored a women’s sports team. These tenacious women should serve as role models for the thousands of young women in our city who aspire to greatness. And as we celebrate our wonderful Women’s World Cup Champions, let us also honor them by calling for equal pay for equal work in all sectors of our society—#EqualPay4Athletes! #EqualPay4women! #EqualPay4all!