The butterfly effect? Title IX and the USWNT as catalysts for global equal pay

Carrick, S., Culvin, A. and Bowes, A. ORCID: 0000-0001-5635-106X, 2021. The butterfly effect? Title IX and the USWNT as catalysts for global equal pay. Journal of Legal Aspects of Sport, 31 (2), pp. 289-311. ISSN 1072-0316

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It is commonly believed that Title IX has had one of the greatest impacts on women and girl’s involvement in sport in the United States and beyond. In 2021, 50 years on from its inception, the development of women’s sport and women’s opportunity within the sporting sphere has increased dramatically. It is doubtless that Title IX has increased participation opportunities and “the question is no longer, ‘can women play?’ The critical question is ‘at what level?’ That’s the 21st century question.”

However, whilst the positive impacts of Title IX are undisputed, women continue to face significant challenges and inequality. Thus, women continue to challenge persistent barriers regarding opportunity, treatment, and access. More recently, this has manifested into pay and working disputes at international level. The current USWNT’s equal pay lawsuit has sparked interest and debate from sporting federations, athletes, and the media alike. More specifically, it can be argued that the lawsuit has acted as a catalyst for global equal pay disputes across a number of different countries and sporting federations. For example, Denmark, Norway, and New Zealand have all embarked upon discussions and negotiations as to equal pay in relation to their men’s and women’s soccer teams. Thus, part one of this paper will illustrate that although Title IX has increased participation and opportunity for female athletes within the educational sphere in the U.S., it has also created, in the form of the USWNT in particular, a generation of athletes who have an appetite for equality beyond education and participation, in respect of equal pay, treatment and working conditions which has transcended into Europe and beyond.

Although the USWNT’s lawsuit has sparked equal pay disputes across the globe, their downfall was that they ultimately could not prove a breach of the Equal Pay Act. Thus, in order to accelerate and win the battle for equal pay, part two of this paper will illustrate that a push for legislative reform is instead required. The USWNT will continue to struggle to claim a breach of the EPA under their current collective bargaining agreement, which supports the argument that legislative reform can aid in closing the gender pay gap, as seen in the Icelandic model.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Legal Aspects of Sport
Creators: Carrick, S., Culvin, A. and Bowes, A.
Publisher: Human Kinetics
Date: 30 August 2021
Volume: 31
Number: 2
ISSN: 1072-0316
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 12 Aug 2021 13:18
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 08:42
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