“Women’s rights are equal rights.” Twenty-five years ago, Hillary Rodham Clinton famously uttered this simple statement and its impact reverberated across the world.
But the reality is that despite what seems like a statement everyone should be able to agree with, there are some aspects of our society where women are treated as lesser than.
These instances are clear, and not only limited to the Middle East or other world hotspots which are easy to vilify; indeed, they are much closer to home.
We are only too aware, for example, that women are systemically underpaid for performing the same work as their male counterparts.
It is a stigma that the United States Women’s National Team’s (USWNT) has this week joined feminist advocates and fair-minded folk in trying to break.
The capture of the team’s fourth World Cup title was more than historic; it was revolutionary.
Following their 2-0 victory over the Netherlands in the finals on July 7, the USWNT’s success immediately sparked talk, on the field and in the stands, about equal pay for women.
Indeed, this conversation has since overshadowed the result of that match, which was viewed by 57,900 fans in Paris’s Stade de Lyon.
Long before USWNT’s latest title, female players had lobbied for pay equal to that of the men.
There is a significant difference in the money which the men and women can earn for lifting the World Cup.
Female US soccer players earn a maximum of $260,869 for advancing to the World Cup and winning, while the maximum for male US players for doing the same thing is $1,114,429.
Ironically, the women have actually generated more revenue than the men in the last two years.
Between 2016 and 2018, the women have brought in $50.8 million, while the men brought in $49.9 million,
Even began the World Cup began, 28 members of the squad filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation in March.
And immediately following their win, USWNT stars Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan both made calls for women to be paid as handsomely as the men.
Rapinoe said: “This game has done so much for all of us. We’ve put so much into it. It’s a testament to the quality on the field, and I don’t think everything else is matching that.
“So how do we get everything to match up and continue to push this forward?
“Because I think at this point the argument that we have been having is totally null and void.”
They have received much support from stars including rapper Snoop Dogg, actor Sandra Bullock and comedian Tracy Morgan.
Those voices, along with the thousands who viewed the World Cup Final and those who lined the streets of New York City for the USWNT’s victory parade have seemingly now been heard.
Two days ago, Democratic US Senators Dianne Feinstein of California and Patty Murray of Washington state introduced a federal bill calling for equal pay for female athletes playing for the country’s national teams.
The bill would add “wages and other compensation” to the existing code requirements for “equitable support and encouragement for participation by women where separate programs for male and female athletes are conducted on a national basis”.
It would also require US sports federations to submit reports to Congress every year showing compensation data by race and gender.
One day earlier, US Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat, of West Virginia introduced a bill that would withhold federal funding for the United States’ hosting of the 2026 men’s World Cup until the men’s and women’s national soccer teams receive equal pay.
But there are still some sports in which both men and women are paid equally.
Take Wimbledon for instance, which made the decision back in 2007 to pay both genders equal prize money after increased pressure from Venus Williams and the Women’s Tennis Association.
The time has long passed for the debate to end and for women to be fittingly recognized for their hard work, just as men are.
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