USWNT

Megan Rapinoe, Midge Purce head to D.C. to help close the gender pay gap

USWNT
Getty Images

Megan Rapinoe is one of the most decorated stars in United States soccer.

From national championships with the University of Portland, to World Cup championships with the United States Women's National Team, Rapinoe tends to win wherever she goes.

Despite all the success and visibility as a sports legend in this country, Rapinoe still finds herself making less money than her male counterparts. 

On Wednesday, Rapinoe and former Portland Thorns midfielder Midge Purce took to Washington D.C. to bring attention to the gender pay gap in America.

In the U.S., on average, women make $0.82 for every $1.00 their male counterparts make. For black women that number drops to $0.63, and for Latinas it's $0.55 according to the National Women's Law Center.

Rapinoe testified at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Wednesday to address the issue.

"The United States Women's National Team has won four World Cup championships. We've won four Olympic gold medals on behalf of this great country," stated Rapinoe. "We have filled stadiums, we've broken viewing records, we've sold out our jerseys, all the popular metrics by which we are judged. Yet despite all of this, we are still paid less than our male counterparts. For each trophy, of which there are many,  each win, each tie, for each time we play. Less.

 

"If that can happen to us, and it can happen to me, with the brightest lights shining on us at all times, it can, and it does, happen to every person who is marginalized by gender. But we don't have to wait. We don't have to continue to be patient for decades on end. We can change that today. We can change that right now. We just have to want to."

Following the testimony, Rapinoe and Purce met with President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden to spread more awareness. 

The Biden administration backs numerous laws and new policies that would help close the gap if not eliminate it altogether. 

It's because of this that Rapinoe introduced Biden on Wednesday as "one of our greatest allies."

But it's not just pay issues that need to be addressed. Women's sports, in general, are not treated in the same way that men's sports are. 

That was made very apparent over the last week with the discrepancy between how the men's and women's college basketball tournaments being put front and center. 

Oregon's Sedona Prince went viral with a post showing the major differences between the Men's and Women's weight rooms. The men's location in Indianapolis had a gym set up that looked like any state-of-the-art athletic facility around the country. As for the women, the single set of dumbbells and a yoga mat at their disposal made an average hotel gym look like a 24hr fitness. 

Women don't just need equal pay. They need their hard work and dedication to be taken seriously as well. In that, they need to be given the same resources as the men have in order to truly grow.

"You would never expect a flower to bloom without water," said Purce. "But women in sport who have been denied water, sunlight and soil are somehow expected to blossom. Invest in women, then let’s talk again when you see the return."