The Women of US Soccer Say Their Battle For Gender Equality "Is Part of Our Legacy"
On March 8, the women of US soccer marked International Women's Day with a bold public move: filing a gender-discrimination lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation. I sat down with players Megan Rapinoe (pictured above), Christen Press, and Alex Morgan a few weeks after they filed the suit and just ahead of Equal Pay Day on April 2. They were celebrating the news that LUNA Bar cut all 23 members of the US National Women's Team a check to the tune of $31,250. The amount makes up the gap between the World Cup Roster Bonus female players in the soccer federation were set to receive compared to male players. While the effort was meaningful, I asked if it was just as frustrating that it was necessary.
"Well, I think LUNA Bar seeking out the National Team Players Association and wanting to do right by closing the gender pay gap was just incredible in itself," Morgan told POPSUGAR. "They actually surprised us while we were in training with the national team together."
Rapinoe added: "I think to be a woman in the world, in general, is frustrating . . . and I feel we spend so much time fighting against things. So, actually, just the shock of someone's doing this really incredible, nice thing for us, and it's also just the right thing to do? We're never really in that position."
The women couldn't talk in detail about the current lawsuit, which details not only pay inequality but disparities in coaching, training, and play opportunities between their team and the men's team. But the legal action represents just one match in a long game. The teammates, who have consistently been paid less than their male counterparts, have spent years publicly battling for equality in their sport. That's even after their World Cup win in 2015 became the most-watched soccer game in American history and led them to generate almost three times the revenue of the men's team that year. And our conversation made it clear: they're done with the status quo.