Equal pay is about equality -- no more, no less. For anyone who's still fuzzy on that point, allow U.S. soccer champion Carli Lloyd to break it down for you.
In March, five of U.S. women's soccer's biggest stars filed a wage-discrimination suit against U.S. Soccer on behalf of the entire national team in a bid for equal pay. On Sunday, just two days before Equal Pay Day, the New York Times ran a riveting op-ed written by Lloyd.
"When I joined four teammates in filing a wage-discrimination complaint against U.S. Soccer late last month, it had nothing to do with how much I love to play for my country," the midfielder and 2015 FIFA Player of the Year wrote. "It had everything to do with what’s right and what’s fair, and with upholding a fundamental American concept: equal pay for equal play. Even if you are female."
Since filing the lawsuit, the U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT) has been called selfish, attention-seeking and worse on social media. One particularly charming Twitter user questioned why the players get paid at all.
The pay gap in professional soccer is particularly egregious. Last year, women players made about a quarter of what their male contemporaries did, despite winning the World Cup, something the U.S. men's team has never done. Over the next two years, the USWNT is set to bring in considerably more revenue than the USMNT, $8 million more just in 2017. As HuffPost's Justin Block argued last month, if you look at the numbers, the women of USWNT don't just deserve equal pay, they deserve to make more than the men do.
But Lloyd and the other four women who attached their names to the wage-discrimination complaint -- Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Hope Solo -- aren't just speaking up for themselves. They are using their own situation to bring attention to the wage gap at large, and fight for the young women who might hope to follow in their formidable footsteps. Wrote Lloyd:
The fact that women are being mistreated financially is, sadly, not a breaking news story. It goes on in every field. We can’t right all the world’s wrongs, but we’re totally determined to right the unfairness in our field, not just for ourselves but for the young players coming up behind us and for our soccer sisters around the world.
Lloyd wrote, summing up the whole problem:
"Simply put, we’re sick of being treated like second-class citizens. It wears on you after a while. And we are done with it."
Amen to that.
To read Lloyd's full op-ed, head over to the New York Times.