From the Basement: US women’s soccer unites against discrimination

Hannah May Powers, Staff Writer

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On March 8, the U.S. women’s national soccer team filed a lawsuit against U.S. Soccer and, in doing so, drew the world’s attention to the gender-based discrimination it has faced.

This should not come as a shock, however, as the women’s team has won four Olympic golds, three World Cups and eight Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football titles, but still is paid less than the men’s national team. No, this is not because the men’s team has accomplished more than the women’s team. In fact, its resume looks fairly empty in comparison. This is especially true when considering the fact that the men’s team has never won a World Cup and even missed the qualifying mark to compete in the event held in Russia this past summer.

The road to filing the suit has been long. Though five team members attempted to file a complaint regarding gender discrimination in 2016, no strides were made to address the numerous inequalities experienced by the squad.

While the U.S. men’s national team blundered in its attempt to qualify as one of the 32 teams selected for the for the 2018 World Cup, its female counterpart is currently ranked as the No. 1  team in the entire world. The men’s failure to compete on the world’s biggest stage was a knock in morale, but fans have more than enough reason to be excited for the future of the sport, though that might mean shifting support to a team that has been underestimated and disregarded in the past.

Sporting giant Adidas announced on March 9 that all sponsored athletes who are part of the winning team in the 2019 Women’s World Cup will receive the same bonuses as their male counterparts. Though necessary, this announcement feels reactionary, especially considering that it arrived on the heels of the lawsuit.

“We believe in inspiring the next generation of female athletes, creators and leaders through breaking barriers,”  Eric Liedtke, Adidas head of global brands, said in the announcement.

This begs the question, how is equal treatment radical? Adidas is not breaking any glass ceilings by finally acknowledging the prowess of the team, especially when the women have consistently shown throughout the years that they are world-class athletes.

The most remarkable aspect of this lawsuit is the display of team unity. In an astonishing show of solidarity, 28 woman decided to put their names on on the lawsuit, despite the potential for personal and professional ramifications. Fans can only hope their bravery will be rewarded.