WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced new legislation to expand on the provisions of the Athletics Fair Pay Act to ensure that female amateur athletes and related staff are treated and paid fairly. The Even Playing Field Act would amend the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act to require equal pay, investment, and working conditions for amateur athletes, coaches, trainers, and other personnel. Earlier this month, Klobuchar and Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) sent a letter to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation pressing for a hearing in the Committee on the significant issue of pay disparity between men’s and women’s sports in the United States.
“Evening the playing field in sports is about more than just equal pay – we must also ensure that athletes, coaches, trainers, and other personnel have fair working conditions,” Klobuchar said. “This legislation recognizes the importance of protecting and empowering athletes and works to ensure that all those involved in professional and amateur sports are treated fairly.”
“In sport after sport, U.S. women’s national teams are achieving unprecedented success despite receiving less financial support than their male counterparts,” Feinstein said. “Imagine what they could accomplish on a level playing field. Equal pay and resources should be provided to both men’s and women’s teams competing under the U.S. banner. That would send clear and positive message to the rest of the world.”
The Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act 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. If passed, the Even Playing Field Act would:
- Require the U.S. Olympic Committee to ensure female athletes are provided with wages, investment and working conditions equal to their male counterparts;
- Clarify eligibility requirements for NGBs to include demonstrating and providing investment, working conditions, wages 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, working conditions, wages, and other compensation; and
- Mandate that each NGB submit regular reports to Congress on their compensation practices by race and gender.
The Even Playing Field Act is also cosponsored by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
The bill is supported by the National Women’s Law Center, American Association of University Women, and National Partnership for Women and Families.