With two weeks until the Women’s World Cup in France, the U.S. Women’s National soccer team have a message for America. Speaking at the team’s media day on May 24, midfielder Megan Rapinoe got straight to the point and called out the sport’s leadership for not doing enough to level the playing field and address equality issues.
While acknowledging that FIFA (the International Federation of Association Football) has made “strides” towards equality, Rapinoe said, according to CNN, "The incremental change that we've seen is just not enough."
"For the resources and for the ability that I feel like FIFA has to implement that change, I think they're not doing nearly enough," she said.
Since the last World Cup, FIFA has increased the women's prize to $30 million from $15 million in 2015. That means this year's winners will bring home $4 million compared to the $2 million that Rapinoe and the U.S Women's National team won in 2015.
Compare that to the prize for the 2018 men's World Cup, which was $400 million, with France taking home $38 million as the winners, and you can understand Rapinoe’s frustration.
There have been seven FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments, and the current champions are the U.S. team, who have won three titles. And the team’s 2015 victory over Japan was the highest-rated match in Women’s World Cup history, with the tournament’s closing moments peaking with an 18.2 rating – drawing more U.S. viewers than the Men’s World Cup.
With three World Cup titles and four Olympic Gold medals, the U.S. Women’s National soccer team is the most-decorated team in international women’s soccer, period.
“There is so much potential, so much untapped potential,” said Rapinoe, according to the Washington Post. “I don’t really understand why there is such a resistance toward going all-in on women. It’s pretty clear women in sport have not been treated with the same care and financing as men’s sports have. No one is really arguing about that anymore. I don’t understand why the action step is not there with it.”