The gender pay gap isn’t something that many sports stars are willing to take on, but soccer stars in Norway met the problem head-on. The male stars were earning considerably more than their female counterparts, and it was time to put a stop to that.
Norway’s shining light
The Norwegian women’s soccer team is considerably more successful than the male one, and the former best women’s player in the world is from Norway. Ada Hegerberg is a shining light in Norwegian soccer, but she refuses to play for her country following disputes about pay.
In 2017, the superstar decided to call time on her international career, citing issues with her country’s approach to gender equality in soccer. It meant Hegerberg was going to miss out on playing at the Women’s World Cup, so her nation did something to change for the better.
In recognition of how impressive the women’s team was in Norway, the men’s team decided to take a pay cut in 2018. The male team received $818,000 a year, while the women’s team only earned $387,000. Considering the success the women’s team was having on the international stage, and the lack of success for the men, this didn’t seem fair. The men’s team signed an equal pay agreement to make things better, and now both the men’s and women’s teams are paid the same. They now both earn $750,000, in what is a much fairer system.
Putting it in writing
The men’s team earns the majority of its income through sponsors, so now those fees are being divided up and shared out among all international athletes, regardless of gender. In fact, it is mandated in law that Norway’s male and female teams are paid the same, something the country thinks is a first.
The Secretary-General of the Norwegian Football Federation explained that this move was a positive move and “recognition for women’s football in general.” The move was supported by members of Norway’s women’s team, with one star, Caroline Hansen, thanking the guys for “making this step for female athletes.”
Not everyone was happy
While the move was definitely one in the right direction, Norway’s women’s team was still going to have to live without its main star. Ada Hegerberg did acknowledge that the equal pay movement was a step in the right direction, but she felt as though there was “still a long way to go.”
The star refused to accept her invitation to play for her country after the equal pay agreement in 2018, meaning she missed out on playing in the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Instead of helping to put herself in the spotlight at that World Cup, another soccer star made a big impression.
Megan Rapinoe was the standout star at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, who also is standing up in the fight for equality for all athletes. Rapinoe followed in Hegerberg’s footsteps by winning the Ballon d’Or in 2019 and continues to bring attention to the pay gap across all sports.