11:33 AM ET.
American star Megan Rapinoe said Wednesday that the world is missing out on the true potential of women’s sports because inequalities still exist, including in pay and working conditions.
Rapinoe, who won gold for the U.S. at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, has become a vocal advocate for equal pay. His remarks came in the form of videotaped testimony before the House Oversight Committee in Washington, D.C., on Equal Pay Day.
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Without the right investments, we don’t know the true potential of women’s sports, Rapinoe, captain of the National Women’s Football League OL, told lawmakers. We know the success of women’s sport compared to men’s sport, despite the discrimination, despite the lack of investment at all levels.
Later on Wednesday, Rapinoe and other USWNT members will meet with President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden to celebrate Equal Pay Day.
Rapinoe’s comments follow outrage over the disparity between the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. She said these inconsistencies were totally unacceptable.
Saturday, the NCAA upgraded the women’s weight training facilities in San Antonio after photos and videos on social media revealed major differences from those for men in the Indianapolis area. The NCAA also questions the differences between the gifts offered to male and female players, the dietary options available and the type of COWID-19 test administered to both. The review has since been promised by NCAA President Mark Emmert.
Rapinoe mentioned Emmert by name and said he and NCAA officials just need to do better.
For an organization like the NCAA, which is a nonprofit similar to the American Football Association, that’s just unacceptable, Rapinoe said. Saying you appreciate your student athletes and seeing players show up with dumbbells on the same rack is just unacceptable.
In her opening address, Ms. Rapinoe called on lawmakers to ensure justice.
Inequality of any kind cannot be overcome overnight. I’m here today because I know firsthand that it’s true, she said.
The women’s team has won four World Championships and four Olympic gold medals for our country. We’ve filled stadiums, broken attendance records and sold t-shirts. And yet we get less money than the men – for every trophy, for every win, for every draw, for every time we play. Less. And if it can happen to us, me, the brightest lights shining on us – it can and does happen to anyone marginalized by gender. And we don’t have to wait. We can’t be patient. We can change that today. Right now. You just have to want it.
The USWNT has been in a legal battle with the US Soccer Federation for several years. In May 2020, a federal judge in California ruled in favor of USSF in a wage discrimination lawsuit first filed in 2019. In December 2020, the members of the USWNT agreed to terms to settle a portion of a lawsuit against U.S. Soccer for labor discrimination.
Instead of lobbying for the women’s team and our efforts for equal pay and equality in general, the U.S. Soccer Federation is constantly lobbying against our efforts and those of billions of marginalized people in the U.S., Rapinoe said.
Rapinoe’s statement follows legislation filed by U.S. representatives. Doris Matsui and Rosa DeLauro earlier this month, who want to ensure that USWNT World Cup participants are paid a fair wage compared to the U.S. men’s team.
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