Can you remember the last time an all-female sporting team got this much media attention? I certainly can’t, and it’s amazing to see. The USA women’s soccer team is the talk of, well, pretty much everyone: The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, CBS, CNN, Kristen Gillabrand, Snoop Dogg, Nike, and Fox News to name just a few.
The great thing about the USA women’s team winning the world cup is that it’s a great excuse to celebrate strong women from all walks of life. Of course, team USA are the real stars of this story, but in celebrating the soccer team, we celebrate the fearless, no nonsense, bad ass woman in all of us.
A decade ago, soccer hardly registered the tiniest of blips on most Americans’ radar, but after the women’s World Cup, it’s all we can talk about. These women have reached a large and diverse audience and even if you don’t like soccer, it’s hard not to know at least a little bit about their story. They’ve brought women’s strength, athleticism, and enthusiasm to our living rooms. They’ve also brought women’s struggles, and more importantly, the very clear power and drive to overcome these challenges to our attention as well. They are on fire and are warming all of us!
The USA team are also using their power to enact change, demanding equal pay for equal work. On March 28th, members of the USWNT filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation for allegedly discriminating by paying female players less than male players. The USWNT wants equal pay. And why shouldn’t they get it? People have often made the argument with WNBA and other women’s sports that women just don’t draw the crowds, they don’t generate as much money as their male counterparts, so we “can’t” pay them equally.
Well, now that women’s soccer generates more money than men’s soccer, it only makes sense to pay them equally. Perhaps, using the logic above, it makes sense to pay them more now: “In the three years after the U.S. women’s soccer team won the 2015 World Cup, U.S. women’s games generated more total revenue than U.S. men’s games, according to audited financial reports from the U.S. Soccer Federation.” –Wall Street Journal.
This World Cup victory is an awesome story about a team of powerful woman changing the world. Let’s dive in, get on board, encourage, celebrate and further this change that they’ve started.
I remember sitting in my elementary school classroom and learning that the USA used to be sexist, but that women got the right to vote in 1920 and that fixed things, for the most part. I believed what I learned, but as I grew up, I started to feel that sexism still existed, in a very real way. I can’t count the number of times I was told I couldn’t (or at least shouldn’t) do things because I was a girl. This was especially true when I became a raft guide, a kayaker, a business owner and then set out to become the first woman to kayak the Amazon River from source to sea. I feel like one of the lucky ones because I don’t listen to the people telling me I can’t, but for every one of me, there are plenty of girls who do listen.
So, let’s all capitalize on the momentum that the USA Women’s Soccer team has started for us. Let’s ride on their coattails and shout to the world about all of the incredible things women are capable of doing. Then let’s all go find some little girl who’s feeling uncertain about what she’s about to try and let’s encourage her to go for it!
Who’s with me?