July 17, 2019

Cortez Masto Joins Women Senators to Introduce Equal Pay Bill for All U.S. National Teams

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) in introducing the Athletics Fair Pay Act, a bill to require equal pay and compensation for all Olympic and amateur athletes.

“Pay is a reflection of how workers are valued in our society, and the inherent message behind paying women less is they offer less than male counterparts. Women deserve to receive compensation for their extraordinary performance, and female athletes are no exception – that’s why I’m committed to eliminating the gender equity gap as I proudly cheer on historic wins from teams like the U.S. women’s soccer team.”

In addition Senators Cortez Masto, Feinstein and Murray, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) also cosponsored this legislation.

Full text of the bill is available here.


The Athletics Fair Pay Act updates the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act to mandate that the national governing bodies for each Olympic sport pay female athletes fairly and equally. It also requires the national governing bodies to provide annual reports to Congress on amateur athlete pay to ensure they’re complying with their equal pay obligations.

The bill is in response to a discrimination lawsuit brought by members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team against the U.S. Soccer Federation. Despite their success on the field, according to the players the U.S. Soccer Federation pays women just 38 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. The pay gap is not unique to women’s soccer. In 2017, the U.S. women’s national ice hockey team received a pay raise from its governing body, USA Hockey, only after the team threatened to boycott a major competition.