The US Women’s national soccer team is preparing to get as vocal as possible about their mission to receive equal pay and treatment as the Men’s national team.
According to the New York Times, ahead of their game Saturday against South Africa in Chicago, the USWNT plans to wear T-shirts endorsing an “Equal Play Equal Pay” message. The players union is also creating temporary tattoos with the same slogan for the players to wear on the field during their matches.
Due to the terms of their collective bargaining agreement with the US Soccer Federation, the team is not allowed to strike. But they will have a chance to renegotiate terms when the current agreement ends after the year. The Olympics also frown upon athletes using the Games as an opportunity to make social and political commentary, but the women are looking to use their platform leading up to Rio to their advantage.
Among the complaints from the women’s team — led by Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Hope Solo and Becky Sauerbrunn — is that their travel conditions, field conditions, and pay are all significantly worse than what the men receive. While it’s true that in the past the men received more in TV money and brought in more fans/ratings and higher ticket prices, the opposite has occurred lately due to the recent success and explosion in popularity of the women’s team.