prospect | It took a revolution, but the USA women’s soccer team got what it deserved

prospect |  It took a revolution, but the USA women's soccer team got what it deserved
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Money is respect. For too long, an American football player opened a paycheck that told her she was cheap merchandise and her gold medals were cheap.

Finally, the members of the United States Women’s National Team will be rightly appreciated as the national treasures that they are. New ‘identical compensation’ deal for US soccer teams – negotiated by mutual agreement with their male counterparts – will pay women equal salaries and World Cup bonuses. It’s a revolutionary deal, and it’s just because it took a revolt to get here. Never forget how difficult it was to win such a basic contract.

It took 25 years, strikes and work stoppages, and a rebellious, siege-like trial – all to secure simple and fair tax recognition from an unprecedentedly successful women’s team, winners of four World Cup and four Olympic gold medals, which blew the door open to a new global audience pouring new dollars into old suit pockets. Gone are the paltry devaluations of 38 cents on the dollar for women winning trophies while men earn exponentially more losing in the group stage.

US women’s and men’s national soccer teams close pay gap with ‘game-changing’ deal

No more paychecks that read like personal insults from their hardline federation. In 1996, the women’s Olympic gold medal team “earned about $10 a day,” recalls Julie Foudy. When they asked for bonuses, a football official told them, “Don’t be greedy” and suggested they should be happy to have a jersey with “USA” written on it.

Three years later, they filled the Rose Bowl and beat China win the 1999 world cup — and believed they were entitled to a modest increase, especially after the federation signed a 120 million dollar contract with Nike. So entering the 2000s Olympic Games, women demanded $5,000 per month, up from $3,150 previously. The federation balked. When Foudy and Mia Hamm got the team together to stage a strike, a football official said with disdain, “They are currently unemployed.” It wasn’t until the women threatened to skip all the Olympics that they won their meager raise. “They basically ignored our successes over the last three years, including a World Cup win and an Olympic gold medal,” the team captain said. Carla Overbeck said then.

In 2015, the final of the Women’s World Cup was the most watched football game of all time on an American network, men’s or women’s — more Americans watched it than the NBA Finals — and it spurred a $20 million increase in league revenue. Yet the federation was still handing out little tax insults. He gave women just $60 a day in meal allowance while paying the men $75. This time, when the women complained and demanded fairer terms, officials called them “irrational” – as if they were hysterical.

They filed a federal discrimination complaint – and fought it for six years while winning the medals.

“Everyone is wondering what’s next and what do we want to happen to all of this,” Megan Rapinoe said wearily after the latest World Cup victory. “It’s to stop having the conversation about equal pay and are we worth it.”

They are worth it – they were always worth it. The $24 million settlement they concluded with the federation in February was simply an admission of guilt and a little back pay.

It all – every ugly, petty battle – mattered. As players’ association president Becky Sauerbrunn acknowledged, the new deal was only reached thanks to “the strong foundation laid by the generations of women’s national team players who preceded the current squad.” . It’s as much a win for the 99ers who earned $10 as it was for Alex Morgan.

But, strangely, this is not the real victory. The women’s soccer movement in the United States has never been strictly about salary, but about simply respecting a man’s salary. It’s a big fight – and excruciatingly slow, considering the Equal Pay Act was enacted in 1963 and we’re still counting progress in pennies. But women’s football has been about a much bigger, wider and more dynamic change – a change that could meet the most radical and intriguing definition of feminism expressed by Germaine Greer, who has always made a difference between “feminism of equality” and “feminism of liberation”. Greer posed a most pointed question: “Equality – with what?” Equality feminism seeks a limited and flawed idea of ​​sameness. Liberation feminism seeks a global reimagining of possibilities.

From February: In its USWNT regulations, US Soccer essentially made an admission: everything was true

“Equality is a conservative goal” she said in 2015. “It means you have an idea of ​​what you want for women, what men have. But what do men have? They have the corporate world. They have the competition. business that gives you a leader and everyone else who struggles to get there and falls by the wayside.

In this context, an issue such as equal pay for women “just becomes window dressing,” Greer charged. “You look feminist because you have women doing things. But they do nothing for women.

The United States National Team over the past 30 years has done something for women – great things, in fact, things that we’re only just beginning to appreciate. The astronomical growth of the Women’s World Cup is hard to fathom: the event, although only 30 years old, attracted 1.1 billion viewers in 2019, with audience records in Brazil, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. And that translates into once-unthinkable opportunities: in England, the Women’s Super League signed an eight-figure deal with Sky Sports, CBS Sports and the BBC.

Over the past 30 years, women’s soccer activists from Foudy to Rapinoe have not only won a pay battle; they’ve unlocked whole new potentials for women and redefined what women’s bodies, “women’s work” and women’s relationships can be – and they’ve proven they can take the kids with them while they do. Perhaps the most radical part of the new contract is not the salary, but the provision of childcare services for women and men’s teams. The contract is nice — but the principle of the thing is real liberation.

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