Changing America: Soccer star Megan Rapinoe testifies to Congress that gender pay gap is 'unacceptable'

Mar 24, 2021
In The News

 

Story at a glance

  • Women's rights advocates are marking equal pay day on March 24 in the United States.
  • Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, held a hearing in Congress to bring attention to the issue.
  • U.S. Women's National Team player and OL Reign captain Megan Rapinoe spoke as an advocate for open pay in professional sports.

March 24 marks the day that, on average, a woman will have earned the same amount since the beginning of 2020 as a man did by the end of last year. That, said athlete and activist Megan Rapinoe, is “unacceptable.”

 

"What we’ve learned and what we continue to learn is that there is no level of status, accomplishments, or power that will protect you from the clutches of inequity. One cannot simply outperform inequality of any kind," Rapinoe said in her statement. “I am here today because I know firsthand that this is true. We are told in this country that if you just work hard and continue to achieve - you will be rewarded fairly. It’s the promise of the American dream. But that promise isn’t for everyone.”

As a member of the U.S. Women's National Team, Rapinoe joined its lawsuit against U.S. Soccer that played out as the team made its fourth successful run to win the Women's World Cup in 2019. A staunch advocate for women’s rights, the former Sports Illustrated sportsperson of the year has not shied away from controversy in the spotlight, going back to 2016, when she joined Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest against racism.

“I feel like, honestly, we’ve done everything,” she said. “You want stadiums filled? We’ve filled them. You want role models for your kids, for your boys and your girls, and your little trans kids, we have that. You want us to be respectful, you want us to perform on the world stage, you want us to take the stars and stripes, the red, white, and blue, across the entire globe and represent America in the best way possible. We’ve done all of that. There is no reason why we are underpaid for the exception of gender.”

Rapinoe, who is part of the LGBTQ+ community, also spoke out in support of transgender athletes as lawmakers in more than a dozen states consider banning transgender kids from playing sports.