For those who are unawares, the FIFA Women’s World Cup is currently well underway in Canada.
Although I am not a supporter of domestic violence, and am well aware of the dangers of the siren’s call of nationalism, I do support women in atheltics who represent the United States. For this reason, I dressed in red, white, and blue, and went to the local American Outlaws pub (in my case, this was Trinity Bar) to support the United States Women’s Football (Soccer) Team in their quest to obtain another star on their kit. The victory of the United States Women solidified that Friday was an awesome day for America. The win that propelled the U.S. Women into the FIFA World Cup Semi-Finals was coupled with the historic Supreme Court ruling of legalizing marriage for same sex couples in the United States.
I also obsereved something that I had never seen before. I saw men wearing U.S. Women’s jerseys, with the names of female players emblazoned on their back.
I thought that this was awesome.
I had the chance to ask the man in the picture I included above, hereby known as J, some questions as we waited for the match to start. Mainly, how does he feel as a man wearing a U.S. Women’s jersey?
J responded that “it’s a U.S. thing.” J also noted that when the United States plays an international football (soccer) event, it is the only time that you are at a bar, and 99% of the people their are supporting the same team. He also mentioned the significance of the FIFA World Cup for either National Team, as it only occurs once every four years.
When I asked J why this was the first year I saw men wearing women’s names on their backs, he responded with this:
“This is the first year that they’ve sold them.”
In regards to gender, pay inequity still runs rampant in athletics.
The Women’s Sports Foundation provides these sobering statistics:
- Even though female students comprise 57% of college student populations, female athletes received only 43% of participation opportunities which is 56,110 fewer participation opportunities than their male counterparts.
- Although the gap has narrowed, male athletes still receive 55% of college athletic scholarship dollars, leaving only 45% to be allocated to women.
- Women’s teams receive only 38% of college sport operating dollars and 33% of college athletic team recruitment spending.
- For finishing in third place in the 2003 Women’s World Cup, each U.S. women’s national soccer team member was awarded $25,000. They would have received $58,000 if they had won the Cup. For reaching the quarterfinal of the World Cup in 2002, the U.S. men’s national soccer team members received $200,000 each.
The fact that there are “men’s” (since all clothes require gendering, right?) soccer shirts available for purchase with women’s names emblazoned on the back is a great first step for women in athletics. More than one supporter was wearing a jersey with a women’s team player’s name on the back at the bar where I watched the match. This is important. Although pay inequity still exists in women’s athletics, it is still nice to see that “One Nation, One Team” is slowly becoming a reality in the world of United States Soccer supporters.