City Council President Herb Wesson, along with Councilwomen Nury Martinez and Monica Rodriguez, introduced a motion Wednesday that would require equal compensation at any competition within Los Angeles that features both men’s and women’s divisions and requires a city permit.
“The gender pay disparity in professional sports is not just a disservice to these female athletes — it’s a disservice to women everywhere,” Wesson said. “It’s time that we reward our athletes not on the basis of their gender but rather on their talent and ability.”
Additionally, Martinez and Councilman David Ryu introduced a resolution in support of legislation that would prohibit the use of federal funds to support the 2026 World Cup unless the U.S. Soccer Federation provides equitable pay for both men’s and women’s teams.
The Women’s National Soccer Team’s World Cup championship victory over the Netherlands on July 7 — its fourth since 1991 — heightened the focus on gender equality in sports. Members of the women’s team have filed a federal lawsuit, alleging they make significantly less than the members of the men’s national team and accusing U.S. Soccer of “institutionalized gender discrimination.”
U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro, in a letter released Monday as the federation moves toward mediating the suit, said $34.1 million in salary and game bonuses were paid out to the women between 2010 and 2018, compared to $26.4 million for the men’s team.
Los Angeles hosts many high-profile sporting events that require special event permits to mitigate threats to public safety and manage traffic congestion, according to Wesson’s office. The Los Angeles Marathon, for example, splits its prize money equitably among male and female participants.
The motion will initially be considered by the City Council’s Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee, and the resolution will be vetted by the council’s Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee.
“It’s time to close the wage gap and correct this disparity once and for all,” Rodriguez said. “This championship is a time for momentous pride for our nation, and our decorated female athletes deserve to be compensated fairly.”