Clinton Talks Wage Gap With U.S. Women’s Soccer Star Suing Over Pay

Hillary Clinton talked about women's wages on Equal Pay Day.

Hillary Clinton joins a panel on pay equity for Equal Pay Day.
Hillary Clinton joins a panel on pay equity for Equal Pay Day.

The fight for equal pay affects everyone, Hillary Clinton argued today—women, their husbands and sons, and even famous soccer stars.

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“It’s important to make the point that the failure to ensure equal pay for women also impacts impacts families and the broader economy,” Ms. Clinton, the former secretary of state and Democratic front-runner for president said today at a panel discussion hosted by Glassdoor in Midtown. “Of course it devalues the work that women do, from minimum wage workers to chief executives and even the best athletes in the world.”

Joining Ms. Clinton on the panel was one of those athletes: Megan Rapinoe, the midfielder for the World Cup winning U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. Ms. Rapinoe and several teammates recently filed federal complaints alleging the U.S. Soccer Federation pays them far less than their male counterparts, who haven’t been as successful.

“We cheered when they won the World Cup and we cheered when they won the Olympic gold medal and we noticed that our men’s team hasn’t yet done that,” Ms. Clinton said. “Yet somehow, the men are making hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the women. You know the phrase equal pay for equal work. Well in America we also believe in equal pay for equal play too.”

Ms. Rapinoe’s case is a high profile one, but she, Ms. Clinton and the other people on the panel argued that there ought to be more attention and transparency around what men and women are paid. Glassdoor encourages employees of companies to anonymously rate their workplaces—and list their salary.

And Ms. Rapinoe’s situation is in some senses a magnified version of what other women experience, the panelists argued: pressures to not be equal but better than men to earn the same; or being treated differently for negotiating than their male counterparts.

“We should just be happy we’re there, right?” Ms. Rapinoe said, recounting the way it was expected she ought to feel.

For years, she said, the argument had been that men’s soccer earned more—but given the massive success of the women’s team, that argument is no longer holding up with her and her colleagues.

But beyond all the data, Ms. Rapinoe said she felt she needed to take a stand because it was just “the right thing to do.”

“It’s never going to be the perfect time, you’re never going to have every single fact that you need,” she said. “But just taking action now, using your voice, standing up and just not accepting something you know in your heart and you know in your gut to be unequal.”

Several different figures are used to describe the gap between women and men’s wages, depending on the country, the state, and how economists adjust for other factors. Glassdor found a gap of 5.4 percent in a recent study, after controlling for education, work experience, job location, industry and job title—often cited as factors for explaining why men, who are more likely to work in certain professions, are paid more.

Ms. Clinton noted some of those factors, but also argued “implicit bias” was at play.

“If it’s fair to talk about women’s choices,” she said, “then we also need to talk about employer’s choices.”


Clinton Talks Wage Gap With U.S. Women’s Soccer Star Suing Over Pay