The US Women’s Soccer team has snagged their fourth championship win Sunday night at the Women’s World Cup after defeating The Netherlands in a fiery battle with a 2-0 win.
The most lively point of talk trending today though comes from the reception of the crowd ripping through the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon, France after the match. From a crowd of more than 59,000 spectators a chant roared through stadium accompanying the FIFA president Gianni Infantino as he took to the podium.
‘Equal pay! Equal pay!’ was the chant that spread across the stadium.
The US team, lead by captain Megan Rapinoe, took to the stage after their record-extending performance, basking in the glory secured by rising star Rose Lavelle at the 69th minute.
This historic win reverberates a significance not just for American fans.
These women are at the forefront of the fight for equal pay for women, and accomplishing so much sporting success while taking legal action against their own federation for gender discrimination.
Rapinoe also came out last month to accuse FIFA of discrimination after discovering that it had scheduled the Women’s World Cup finals on the same day as the South American Football Championships – Copa America, and the Gold Cup, a football competition involving nations from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
The tournament’s top scorer, Rapinoe is a proud gay athlete and her integrity and strength reverberated through the microphone.
‘Getting to play at the highest level at the World Cup with a team like we have…it’s just incredible,’ Rapinoe said. ‘We have no quit in us. We’ll do anything to win.’
This is a tremendous moment in history where we see a group of under-acknowledged women shouldering the inequalities of the world, especially in sports, where on average, male athletes get $179 million more in sports scholarships each year than females.
When it comes to the pay gap in football, the figures are astounding. In total, FIFA distributes $30 million to all the teams in the Women’s Cup. For the men’s World Cup tournament?
Women receive a meagre 7.5% of the men’s earnings.
Rapinoe lead the team to the championships four years ago, where the team received $2 million.
A statement released post-game from a spokesperson for the U.S women’s players association said, ‘”At this moment of tremendous pride for America, the sad equation remains all too clear, and Americans won’t stand for it anymore. These athletes generate more revenue and garner higher TV ratings, but get paid less simply because they are women. It is time for the federation to correct this disparity once and for all.’
If we are serious about equal pay for equal work, sports represents the abominable reality of how far we still have to go to dismantle gender discrimination and inequality.
FIFA and the state of eco-system of international soccer is teeming with corruption and crime, but it’s also an opportunity to right the wrongs of the gender inequality that spreads through the world, across all industries.
The team has also been a champion of political independence, refusing to meet their country’s president, Donald Trump. Ali Krieger told CNN earlier this month ‘I refuse to respect a man who warrants no respect.’
Despite FIFA president Infantino coming out to say that he intends to double the prize money for the winners of the next tournament in four years’ time, that does not address the disparaging gap, since he will also most likely increase the men’s payment by an extra $40 million.
This win and its repercussions continues to highlight the need for us to pursue a world where female athletes continue to receive an insultingly small fraction of what their male counterparts receive.