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For reasons no one can explain, the US Women's National Team (USWNT) is still being underpaid by US Soccer, despite bringing home more championships and world titles than their male counterparts. The fight for equal pay has been an ongoing battle for quite some time, and USWNT players—including household names like Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and Carli Lloyd—have made it very clear that they won't stop until justice has been rightfully served. While she isn't a judge, Title Nine founder and CEO Missy Park is doing her part to help close the pay gap.
On July 28th, Title Nine, a California-based women's athletic clothing brand, stated it would be making a $1 million donation to the USWNT, closing the pay gap between US women's soccer and the men's team.
"I was just getting so mad," Park told Glamour magazine, adding that the HBO documentary LFG really opened her eyes to the discrimination our women's soccer team has been through these past several years. "Maybe I can't do everything [to fix the pay gap], but I can do something."
While $1 million dollars may seem like an astronomical amount of money to donate, Park explained this number covers the difference between what the women were paid in their six pre-Olympic games and what the men would have been paid had they advanced. To clarify, the women's team won all six games and the men's did not, nor did they qualify for the Olympics. Meanwhile, the USWNT did and is projected to medal in Tokyo, all while still getting paid less than the men's team.
Speaking with Glamour, Park said she has witnessed how the USWNT's fight for equal pay has positively impacted her own family. "I'm already reaping the benefits of this team. I have a son and a daughter and they get to see how they perform in the brightest lights under the heaviest pressure. I think we all need to step up to the plate."
In addition to her company's generous contribution, Park and Title Nine have also launched the Kick In for Equal Pay fund to inspire other businesses and individuals to join the fight for equal pay because "it takes all of us to make the change we want to see."
"We want women to lead, and to risk, and to own—and do it on equal footing, on an equal playing field," Park continued. "The battle that these women are fighting is the same battle that all of us are fighting, and a win on the soccer field, hopefully soon, will translate into wins in the workplace."
What Park is doing for not only the USWNT but for female athletes everywhere is worthy of her own Olympic gold medal. If you feel so inclined, join the fight, which can be as simple as supporting the team on social media or watching them tackle the Olympic competition on NBC.