President Joe Biden’s long history with the United States Soccer Federation has had its ups and downs, from meeting with the USMNT following a big win at the 2014 World Cup and attending the USWNT’s 2015 World Cup Final win to threatening to withhold World Cup hosting funding from the federation if it failed to deliver equal pay to the women’s national team.
The last part is in focus as USWNT players Margaret “Midge” Purce and Megan Rapinoe delivered their equal pay message to Capitol Hill with their teammates looking on virtually as the pair met with President Biden on Wednesday, which is “Equal Pay Day.”
[ ON HER TURF: What Rapinoe said at the White House ]
So what’s Equal Pay Day? It’s the day each year that marks statistically how many days longer the average American woman would’ve had to work beyond New Year’s Day to match the pay earned by the average American man in a calendar year.
Calling the USWNT “real heroes,” President Biden signed the Equal Pay Day proclamation and addressed the world after hearing some words from Purce and Rapinoe.
“Frankly we shouldn’t be satisfied until Equal Pay Day is not even necessary at all,” the president said. “More than 90 percent of the occupations, women still earn less than men. Eighty-two cents on the dollar on average. For AAPI, it’s 87 cents for every dollar a white man earns. For Black women it’s 63 cents. For Native American women it’s 60 cents. For Hispanic women it’s 55 cents.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re an electrician, an accountant, or part of the best damn soccer team in the world, the pay gap is real and this team is living proof that you can be the very best at what you do and still have to fight for equal pay.”
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The USWNT plays European friendlies with Sweden and France next month as it prepares a bid to reclaim Olympic glory after a poor performance in Rio.