June 25, 2021

Wyden Co-sponsors Equal Pay Bill for U.S. National Teams

Washington, DC — U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden said today he is co-sponsoring the Even Playing Field Act, which would ensure equal pay, investment and working conditions for U.S national team athletes, coaches and other personnel.

“The women athletes representing our country next month in the Tokyo Olympics fully deserve the same pay and conditions as their male counterparts,” said Wyden, who is scheduled to attend the U.S. Olympic track-and-field trials this Sunday in Eugene. “This gold-medal legislation would achieve that long-overdue goal for these talented and hard-working athletes, and I’ll keep battling for women in every occupation in America to receive the equal pay they have earned.”

In addition to Wyden, other co-sponsors of the bill introduced by U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) include U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).

“Next month, the U.S. women’s national teams will take the stage at the Summer Olympics, ready to bring home the gold,” said Senator Feinstein. “Unfortunately, despite numerous and repeated successes on the field, they continue to receive less financial support than their male counterparts. It’s time to even the playing field and ensure men and women’s national teams receive equal pay and resources within their respective sports.”

“Pay discrimination is unacceptable in any job, but few things highlight this pay inequity more dramatically than the staggering differences in how our male and female athletes are paid,” said Senator Murray. “It is outrageous that even while winning more championships and gold medals than their male counterparts, our talented female athletes are still having to fight for equal pay. This bill will make sure that female athletes representing our country don’t get shortchanged. But we can’t stop there – we need to make sure every single athlete, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity – gets the pay, dignity, and respect they deserve.” 

The Even Playing Field Act would amend the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, which outlines eligibility requirements and general duties of national governing bodies (NGBs), such as U.S. Soccer, that are selected by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The Even Playing Field Act would:

  • Require the U.S. Olympic Committee to ensure female athletes are provided with wages, investment, and working conditions equitable compared to their male counterparts.
  • Clarify eligibility requirements for NGBs to include demonstrating and providing investment, promotional support, working conditions, wages, stipends and other compensation for amateur athletes, coaches, trainers, managers, administrators and officials that is free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age or national origin.
  • Stipulate that duties of NGBs include providing equitable support and encouragement for participation by women, including investment, promotional support, working conditions (including staff support and facilities and equipment), wages, stipends and other compensation.
  • Mandate that each NGB submit regular reports to Congress on their compensation practices, broken out by race and gender.

The bill is supported by the National Partnership for Women and Families, American Association of University Women, National Women’s Law Center, Women’s Sports Foundation and Sports Fans Coalition.

“The Women's Sports Foundation is greatly appreciative of the senators and representatives working together to fight for pay equity by reintroducing the Even Playing Field Act,” said Deborah Antoine, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation. “Across so many sports, female athletes continue to illuminate inequities and call for change. By providing equitable pay, resources and treatment, we send the message to girls across the country that they are valued.”