PARIS — When is later, exactly?
President Donald Trump was asked Wednesday about the U.S. women opening their defense of the World Cup title with a 13-0 rout of Thailand and the team’s fight for equal pay, and he didn’t have much of value to say about either.
“Big win,” he said of the game.
Not exactly ground-breaking stuff there.
Trump was then asked whether the women should be paid the same as the U.S. men, a significant point of contention currently, given that the women’s national team is suing U.S. Soccer for gender discrimination. And that the women are favorites to win the World Cup – it would be their fourth, for those counting – while the men couldn’t even qualify for their version of the tournament last summer.
“We’ll talk about that later,” Trump said.
The answer was hardly a surprise, given Trump’s well-established history of misogyny and disdain for anything that doesn’t directly benefit him. But that attitude, so patronizing and infuriating, is why the women felt compelled to file their lawsuit in March, just three months before the biggest tournament of their careers.
For almost 30 years now, the U.S. women have been the best in the world, the team every other country aspires to have. And for more than 20 of those years, the Americans have been fighting their own federation for equal treatment.
Not treatment befitting their rank in soccer and how it compares with the men’s team, mind you. Or treatment that reflects their drawing power. Just plain and simple equality.
As in, we do the same job, we should get the same money.
But they’ve been stonewalled and short-changed at every turn. In 2016, Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Hope Solo filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Though the players reached agreement the following year on a new collective bargaining deal that addressed some of the disparities, the EEOC complaint remained active. After three years of no action, Morgan, Lloyd, Rapinoe and Sauerbrunn filed their lawsuit, joined by the entire rest of the women’s national team.
“There’s been too much time. It’s been too long,” Sauerbrunn said last month. “If people don’t take up the mantle and they don’t fight, and this thing stagnates, it’s not good for anybody.”
Women recognize that “later” is simply code for more broken promises. That promotion, that raise, that title, that recognition – it’s never going to come, but we’ll keep stringing you along to keep you quiet.
Well, women – the U.S. women, at least – have had enough. They’re working on their own timetable now, and the wishes of everyone else, the president included, are no longer of concern to them.
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