With chants of ‘Equal pay’ and ‘Fuck Trump’, Women’s World Cup becomes lightning rod for resistance

July 11, 2019
The US women's football team celebrates their World Cup win, on July 7 in Lyon, France.

“Almost as cool as the Americans winning the Women's World Cup — with a special bravo to fearless, lesbian, purple-haired, knee-taking co-captain Megan Rapinoe, who has made it quite clear she is "not going to the fucking White House" — was the way messy reality kept intruding onto the triumphant field,” Abby Zimet wrote on Common Dreams.

“As the head of FIFA took the stage after the U.S. 2-0 victory over the Netherlands, furious chanting of ‘Equal Pay!’ spread across the stadium, probably ‘cause the women will earn roughly [US]$30 million this year [compared] to about $440 million for the men…

“While those chants were still ringing in the ears of the ‘sexist kleptocrats’ who’ve kept women athletes down, Fox News reporter Greg Palkot went looking for some celebratory jingoism in a sports bar in Lyons, France. What he got was drowned out by rowdy U.S. patrons chanting ‘Fuck Trump! Fuck Trump!’

“Palkot tried to keep going … but nobody was listening because all they wanted to do was chant ‘Fuck Trump!’”

Jake Johnson takes a look at how the US women’s football (soccer) team was driven by their struggle for equal pay, and used their Cup win to escalate the fight.

* * *

After the US women’s national soccer team defeated the Netherlands on Sunday to claim its fourth World Cup title, chants of “Equal pay!” rang out in the crowd as fans expressed support for the athletes in their fight for equity with their male counterparts, who consistently earn far more money despite performance.

In an effort to combat this pay gap, 28 members of the 2015 women's team—which also won the World Cup—sued the US Soccer Federation on International Women’s Day last year demanding an end to “institutionalised gender discrimination.

As Quartz reported in March, “despite being the victors [in 2015]— and the most successful women’s team in history — the US team received a bonus of just $1.725 million from their employer, the US Soccer Federation. A year earlier, that same federation had awarded the US men’s team bonuses totaling $5.375 million after they lost in the Round of 16 and failed to qualify for the 2018 men's World Cup.”

Aware of this yawning disparity, the crowd gathered inside Lyon Olympic Stadium in France backed the women’s fight for basic equality.

As Buzzfeed reported on July 7, “women’s soccer games have generated more revenue than the men's over the past three years.”

“From 2016 to 2018, women’s games generated $50.8 million in revenue,” according to Buzzfeed, “compared with $49.9 million for the men’s matches.”

Speaking to the Associated Press in May, star forward Megan Rapinoe — who made headlines recently by calling President Donald Trump “a man that warrants no respect” and vowing to turn down an invitation to the White House — criticised the “incremental” changes that have been put forth by FIFA and the US Soccer Federation.

“I would like to see a major paradigm shift and sort of a major overhaul,” Rapinoe said. “There’s been such a lack of investment for all of these years, and such a lack of care and attention that doubling or tripling or quadrupling investment, care, attention to the women's game I think would be appropriate.”

After the US women’s victory, Rapinoe confronted FIFA president Gianni Infantino — who was booed by fans — and said: “It’s time to sit down with everyone and really get to work.”

Asked how she felt about fans booing Infantino, Rapinoe responded: “A little public shame never hurt anybody.”

Molly Levinson, the spokesperson for US women’s team players in their pay discrimination lawsuit, told Buzzfeed: “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,” said Levinson. "It is time for the Federation to correct this disparity once and for all."

[Reprinted from Common Dreams.]

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.