INFOGRAPHIC | Tara Espinoza
After nearly six years of fighting for equal pay, the USWNT and U.S. Soccer settled their equal pay lawsuit on Feb 22. Moving forward, U.S. Soccer has agreed to provide men and women with an equal rate of play, and players involved with the case will receive $24 million.
The media swarmed with excitement, and many athletes and supporters took social media to applaud the USWNT. President Biden congratulated the women’s team for their “long overdue victory,” and team captain Megan Rapinoe tweeted, “When we win, everyone wins!”
Amid the excitement, former USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo slammed Rapinoe and player Alex Morgan on Instagram for taking an “easy out of a fight they were never really in” while also calling the settlement “heartbreaking and infuriating.”
Indeed, the settlement isn’t finalized until a new collective bargaining agreement for the USWNT is ratified and the District Court approves, so it may be too soon to celebrate. Despite this and Solo’s claims, the USWNT’s fight alone has sparked change and gained support, which should not be overlooked.
Over the past six years, we’ve seen fans chant for equal pay at matches. We’ve seen the USMNT, and national leaders show support. We’ve seen millions outraged over U.S. Soccer’s claim that the men’s team should be paid more because their job “requires a higher level of skill, based on speed and strength, than does the job of a WNT player.” We’ve seen a group of women continue to fight for better treatment, despite being refused repeatedly. The team’s unwillingness to give in to their many setbacks and the amount of support they’ve received speaks volumes.
Because of this, I now believe that it’s likely that others will follow the lead of the USWNT, demand equal treatment, and be successful. The USWNT has undoubtedly played a part in changing women’s sports for the better.