“Abby said that she wanted her final World Cup to be like a fairytale. And I’m not sure she could have written a better ending: a world champion at last, draped in the Stars and Stripes, showing us all how far we’ve come―on and off the field―by sharing a celebratory kiss with her wife.”
This is an illustration of the difference.
President Barack Obama, on Tuesday:
This team taught all America’s children that “playing like a girl” means you’re a badass. Perhaps I shouldn’t have used that phrase. Playing like a girl means being the best. It means drawing the largest TV audience for a soccer match―men or women’s―in American history. It means wearing our nation’s crest on your jersey, taking yourself and your country to the top of the world. That’s what American women do. That’s what American girls do. That’s why we celebrate this team. They’ve done it with class. They’ve done it with the right way. They’ve done it with excitement. They’ve done with style. We are very, very proud of them.
Two days later, over at the Capitol:
On Thursday, Senate Republicans blocked a resolution that called on soccer’s global governing body to “immediately eliminate gender pay inequity and treat all athletes with the same respect and dignity.”
“It is a shame that in the Senate, we cannot even agree to pass a resolution that calls for the equal treatment of male and female athletes. If we cannot even pass a non-binding resolution, how can we ever achieve real pay equity for women?” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who introduced the resolution this summer.
Earlier this year at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the pay disparity between male and female soccer players was put into sharp focus when it was reported that while the U.S. Women’s National Team received $2 million for winning the championship, men’s teams who lost in the first round of the 2014 World Cup, including the U.S. men’s team, received $8 million.
Remember this, when people tell you there is no difference, that they’re all the same.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), complained that there are larger issues to address: “That’s what the United States Senate ought to be spending time on, rather than offering opinions and resolutions about a private international entity and how they should award prizes”. The problem with this approach is that it sort of requires more effort to make a stand and complain than it would have to do the right thing.
And, you know, this means it can’t possibly be long before House Republicans send Mr. Alexander’s counterpart from the Volunteer State, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-04), out to explain why women who play soccer don’t want equal pay.
This is an important difference; we do ourselves a disservice pretending otherwise.
Image notes: Top ― United States Women’s National Team forward Abby Wambach celebrates victory at the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 5 July 2015, with her wife, Sarah Huffman. (Detail of photo by Elaine Thompson/AP) Right ― President Barack Obama holds a jersey and poses for photographs during a ceremony to honor the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup champion U.S. National Soccer Team, Oct. 27, 2015, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Detail of photo by Evan Vucci/AP)
Gibbs, Lindsay. “Senate Republicans Block Resolution Calling For Equal Pay In Soccer”. ThinkProgress. 30 October 2015.
Horowitz Satlin, Alana. “Marsha Blackburn: Women ‘Don’t Want’ Equal Pay Laws”. The Huffington Post. 2 July 2013.
Obama, Barack. “Remarks by the President Honoring the U.S. National Women’s Soccer Team”. White House Office of the Press Secretary. 27 October 2015.