DURING the recent Summer Olympics, former US President Donald Trump encouraged rally attendees to boo the US National Women’s Football Team and, after the team failed to qualify for the gold medal game, declaring that if “our football team, led by a radical group of maniacal leftists, were not awake they would have won the gold medal instead of the bronze”.
Likewise, Trump antagonist National Team star Megan Rapinoe tweeted inflammatory comments following allegations of sexual harassment and abuse affecting the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL): “Burn it all . Let their heads roll.
But policymakers and fans should look beyond the warriors of performative culture and take note of the efforts of quieter, more impactful leaders such as the former Chicago Red Star Christen Press, Orlando Pride’s Alex Morgan and the Captain. of the national team Becky Sauerbrunn.
These leaders and many others have been at the forefront of struggles for equal pay and safe working conditions both within the National Team and the NWSL and in raising awareness of the challenges of human rights such as the safe withdrawal of the Afghanistan women’s national football team following the recent takeover. by the Taliban there.
The U.S. National Team has been at the center of an equal pay battle since March 2019. The players sued the American Football Federation (US Soccer) for more than $ 66 million (RM 278 million) in damages under U.S. Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, arguing that they were not paid fairly under their collective agreement, which expired in December 2021, compared to what the men’s national team receives under their deal, which expired in December 2018.
In May 2020, a United States District Court judge dismissed the equal pay claim, which is currently under appeal, but allowed part of the working conditions claim to pass. on trial, which led to a subsequent positive settlement.
The lawsuit also prompted US Soccer last September to offer identical contracts to player associations for the two national teams. However, US Soccer refuses to accept a deal unless the World Cup prize money is matched. This is a significant sticking point since FIFA, the governing body of international football, offers a much larger prize pool for men than for women and the US men’s team is not. required to negotiate jointly with the women’s team.
Rather than vague legislative moves such as the GOALS Act, in which the US Congress would ban the use of funds for the 2026 Men’s World Cup unless “fair pay” is provided to both national teams, the right way to resolve this complex, and difficult to define, problem is for the three parties concerned to immediately engage in good faith, potentially revolutionary negotiations at the negotiating table.
In contrast, effective congressional oversight has helped advance demands by the NWSL Players Association to put player safety at the forefront of recent league reform efforts, following pervasive allegations of verbal harassment and harassment. sexual abuse leading to the dismissal of four head coaches (one fifth was dismissed “for cause”).
The latest resignation came in late November when the former Red Stars head coach suddenly resigned before multiple allegations of verbal and emotional abuse by former players were detailed in a Washington Post report.
In part thanks to the efforts of US Representative Deborah Ross and 41 of her colleagues, the NWSL recently accepted the eight demands made by the players’ association, including “an investigative committee being created, security protocols being memorized and changes made to ensure players ‘voices are heard’.
For American society at large, these leaders demonstrate that change is possible when there are many organizations and institutions in need of in-depth revitalization, be it football leagues, political parties, businesses or churches.
These are individuals that researcher Yuval Levin refers to in his insightful book Time to Build as people who respond constructively to this key question: Given my role in this organization or institution, how should I behave?
Perhaps the most important legacy of these leaders, however, is to provide young Americans with positive examples of personal agency – the belief that someone can take action to positively shape the world around them. As a new Gallup poll shows that only 44% of American women are happy with the way society treats them, and only 33% of women believe they have the same job opportunities as men, these inspiring role models are now more than necessary. never. – Chicago Tribune / Tribune News Service