It is 2021 and women are still fighting for equal pay. Some of the most courageous leaders for this cause have been the athletes of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT). On June 24th, a documentary titled “LFG” released on the HBO Max streaming platform. The film showcases the team and their journey as they continue to fight for equity and equality.
Just before winning their fourth World Cup title in 2019, on March 8th which is also National Women’s Day, the team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation. This lawsuit focused on the fact that the women were being financially discriminated against because of their gender.
Despite the US Women’s Team receiving great accolades and winning more games and titles than the male team, they were not being paid as much. Players were even living paycheck to paycheck, trying to support their families. Some even picked up second jobs.
The captains of the team knew that they had to take a stand. In 2019, they called a secret team meeting during training camp. The process would be tolling and potentially harmful to their careers, yet the women chose to fight the battle. However, even after all that they have done and proven since then, the judge denied the team of their equal pay claim. This devastating news came during the start of the pandemic and the team are now appealing the case with the 9th Circuit.
Behind the scenes
The documentary follows this long journey, giving us a “behind the scenes” look at the lives of some of the USWNT players. A large portion of their lives has been consumed by paperwork and meetings throughout their legal battle.
This film does much more than just lay out the facts; we see the humans behind the fight. It is a group of women dedicating their lives to this cause, not just for themselves but for generations of women to come. We also see how this historic legal battle has inspired women around the world to stand up and fight for equal pay. Additionally, we are given the opportunity to look into the lives and minds of some fantastic athletes and female trailblazers including Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, Jess McDonald, Julie Foudy and more. Their raw accounts of inequality and sexism prove how necessary it is to win this legal battle.
As the team continues to push forward, fans everywhere are showing support. Entire stadiums have chanted words of encouragement and thousands have sported t-shirts embossed with the hashtag #EqualPay.
You would think after decades of asking for equal pay and winning championships, these women would finally get what they deserve. Until that is possible, the least we can do is look to them for inspiration as we push for equality across the board.
The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team will have yet another chance to show off their incredible skills at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo starting later this month. Millions will be cheering them on for what they do on and off the field.
It looks like there might be another gold medal in their future, so “Let’s F-ing Go!!!” #LFG