AUSTIN, Texas — As Sunday’s World Cup final game ended, fans erupted chanting, “Equal pay! Equal pay!”

It was in response to the FIFA Women’s World Cup winnings being $30 million, while the Men’s World Cup prize is about 15 times more: $440 million.

“Holy crap, like wow, yes, this is exactly what we need – finally we're hearing this at a global level instead of just people tweeting about it or just seeing it on a national level,” said Jayme Woodfill, an FC Austin Elite player, after she heard the chant. “It's inspiring that people are starting to recognize, especially, not only women, but women in sports too, equal pay and the importance that that brings and the importance that it is to keep players and people supporting women’s sports happy to where they want to come back and keep doing it.”

Jayme has dreamed of playing at the professional level since she was young.

“It was just kind of mind-boggling to me that these professional athletes that spend pretty much their whole entire life dedicated to the sports are making so little,” she said.

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Her father, Danny Woodfill, is FC Austin Elite’s general manager.

“Sports across the history of the United States has always had a greater impact on our society and our change,” he said. “We didn't really start to address race issues until black players started playing baseball, and then all of a sudden it was like, ‘Oh! This does make a difference!’ and I think the same is true for pay with women.”

Pay equality is still an issue around the world. In Austin, women range from 3% to 7% below the pay of men, according to the Austin Technology Council.

“The reality is that we've historically been underpaid – not just for a 10 to 20 year time period, but for an entire generation or more – and so we haven't really had the option in the past to negotiate our salaries or have historically been taught how to negotiate our salaries,” said Amber Gunst, CEO of the Austin Technology Council.

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She shared these tips for employees and employers:

  • Have direct conversations with supervisors and executive leadership.
  • Talk to HR about understanding and identifying where you might be receiving less.
  • Do research before discussing a pay raise with your boss.
  • Look at online reviews, talk to people at other companies and sit down with male peers from other companies to find out what they’re making.
  • Don’t go into a leader’s office and suggest you’re making less. Instead, do your homework be prepared to negotiate.
  • Employers should make sure the playing field is leveled every time they review an employee.
  • Employers need to look at ways to increase the merit-based increases and make sure they are equal for all genders.

Jayme hopes the world platform will help push the world conversation forward.

“I think it's bringing attention to everybody. It's not just … women's soccer, it's not just sports; it's everywhere,” she said. “Once you get that equal pay on a higher level, it starts to get brought up in lower levels. And so, with the Women's National Team bringing that up, it really shows there, and then hopefully will trickle down and start to show other places as well.”

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