Story at a glance
- Professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe wants male counterparts to help advocate equal pay.
- She lists major stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic as individuals who can help.
- The U.S. Women’s National Team is currently suing the Soccer Federation for discrimination.
U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe is known for being a fierce player on and off the field. As a player, she helped guide the U.S. women’s national team to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup in both 2015 and 2019. As an activist, she advocates for equal pay between professional men and women soccer players as well as LGBTQ+ rights.
Sitting down for an interview with the French soccer (or football) magazine France Football after winning the prestigious Ballon d’Or prize alongside Lionel Messi, Rapinoe describes her work on and off the pitch. In the fight for equal pay, she expressed frustration that her male counterparts have not vocalized more support for the women’s teams.
“I want to shout: ‘Cristiano [Ronaldo], Leo [Messi], Zlatan [Ibrahimovic], help me!’” she said. Rapinoe criticized their silence “when there are so many problems in men’s football.” She insists that male players shouldn’t be concerned about negative repercussions as a result of speaking out, and that their legacy would remain intact.
Her bold statement comes after the U.S. women’s team received a key decision in their lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation when a judge gave the lawsuit class certification, meaning that the lawsuit will include all of the team’s players.
On a global scale, there have been advancements toward pay equality between men and women. The Football Federation Australia (FFA) closed the pay gap between their national men’s and women’s teams, the Caltex Socceroos and the Westfield Matildas respectfully. A press release from the FFA stated that “the new agreement reflects football’s determination to address issues of gender equity in all facets of the game.”
Although the fight for equal pay is far from over, Rapinoe acknowledges her privilege. “I’m lucky to have some talent to lead struggles,” she told France Football. “The idea is to empower others to speak loudly.”