Fight for equal pay making headway in the US: Lori Lindsey
Former US women’s national football team player Lori Lindsey believes progress has been made in the fight for equal pay after the world champions’ ‘Equal Play, Equal Pay’ campaign.Updated: Jan 06, 2018 12:22 IST
The US women’s national football team has been at the forefront of the battle for equal pay in the last couple of years, with the world champions’ ‘Equal Play, Equal Pay’ campaign sparking similar calls in other countries in 2017.
Iceland recently passed a legislation aimed at bringing equality in compensation paid by companies to employees of different genders, and according to former footballer Lori Lindsey, there has been some headway on the ground in the US as well.
Once the midfield enforcer of the US women’s national team, whom she represented at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Lindsey believes her former colleagues’ campaign could go a long way in bringing parity in the game across the world.
“We have made quite a bit of headway, I would say. We’ve been really fortunate in the US because we have had players like Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, who are not only wonderful athletes on the field, but also great ambassadors for the women’s game off the field. They spoke up intelligently and fought for our rights, which gave us and the current players the platform to speak,” she told Hindustan Times on the sidelines of the ‘Goals for Girls’ leadership summit, which is currently being held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here in Delhi.
“The aim of the ‘Equal Play, Equal Pay’ campaign is not to try and get paid equal to the men, but getting paid for what we deserve, for the efforts that we are putting on the field. That will help us to grow the game worldwide because it allows women from other countries to say, ‘Hey, we are putting in this work too. We should get compensated appropriately as well’.”
Lindsey also gave her backing to former teammate Hope Solo, who is running for the president’s role of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF).
“We have had Sunil Gulati as the president for a number of years now. The fact that we have females running for top executive positions is massive and shows how far the game has come. If you look at US Soccer over the years, it’s been very heavily male dominated. We need to see some diversity in there now,” she said.
Easier for women’s LGBTQ athletes to come out
In 2012, Lindsey publicly came out as gay in an interview with online magazine Autostraddle. Speaking about the struggles faced by LGBTQ athletes in professional sports, Lindsey said male athletes find it more difficult to speak openly about their sexuality.
“Each culture is different. My experience as an LGBTQ athlete is that I have been able to use my platform to speak up and I have been rewarded ten-fold. I think on the women’s side, it’s proven to be quite a bit easier than on the male side because there is a lot of machismo, masculinity in sports.
“But in the US, we are coming along well. I understand that here in India, it’s not that easy. It just depends on the culture, but again, if you see one culture making some headway, then it starts to spread out and become more mainstream,” she stated.
The 37-year-old ex-footballer said the need of the hour for women’s football is to create more opportunities for young athletes to play.
“Even when I was playing, the competition had intensified immensely. Women’s soccer in general across the world is booming. It’s a great time to start participating. In the US, we have been fortunate because a lot of females do play and have had access to be able to play. With India, it’s just about continuing to grow the access and getting young females to play,” she remarked.