Norway Makes a Move for Equal Pay Between Male and Female Footballers

Norway’s women’s national football team
Norway’s women’s national football team | Courtesy of Fotballandslaget
Photo of Danai Christopoulou
18 December 2017

#Sterkeresammen. If you visit the official Facebook page for Norway’s National Football team, that hashtag, vividly displayed on their cover photo, is the first thing you’ll notice. It means, “stronger together”—and it’s not just words. Thanks to the latest agreement between the Norwegian Football Association and Norway’s players’ association, Norway is now the first country to offer its women’s national team a salary bump to equal that of their men’s national team. To the rest of the world: this is how it’s done.

An historical moment for equality in sports

December 13, 2017 was a good day for Norway. Apart from a very important conversation that started in the Parliament regarding the decriminalisation of drugs, a step forward was made for gender equality as well. At the Norwegian Embassy in London, Stefan Johansen and Maren Mjelde, Norway’s men’s and women’s National Football Team Captains, signed an agreement that will bridge the pay-gap between the two teams.

Here’s how they’re going about it: the male players agreed to contribute 550,000 Norwegian kroner of their collective pay (money they currently receive for commercial activities) to the women’s team, basically taking a pay-cut until the end of this year, to balance the scales. From 2018 onward, both male and female teams will be getting six million kroner each. Take that, #gendergap.

Maren Mjelde, Captain of the Norway National Team | Courtesy of Fotballandslaget

Why the rest of the world should start listening

Historically, women’s football has been considered “less than.” In Norway, it wasn’t officially recognized until 1976, which seems quite unfair considering women’s football national teams are performing better than their male counterparts in many countries, Norway included, And yet, the financial disparity is so real, it has prompted lengthy legal disputes and protests in countries such as Scotland, Denmark, Nigeria, Ireland, even the USA. Which is why this motion for equal pay coming straight from the Norwegian Football Association, and not as a result of a long, drawn-out fight, is such a positive sign that things are, and should be, changing.

In the FA’s own words, “Isn’t it a cool idea and wouldn’t it be a good signal if we did things equally?” Amen to that, Norway.

The women’s national team | Courtesy of Fotballandslaget

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