Megan Rapinoe, a high-profile United States Women’s Soccer player, co-captain, 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion, 2x Gold medalist, Golden Boot winner, and Golden Ball winner, now takes on the topic of pay equity in the political activist space.
Last month, Rapinoe flew across the country to Philadelphia to speak at the WorldatWork Pay Equity Symposium. She discussed pay equity issues surrounding US Soccer and how their team is joining the fight towards equal pay. Over 200 professionals that represent corporate America were in attendance.
Rapinoe began her keynote speech with a casual, yet compelling Q&A with WorldatWork’s president and Chief Executive Officer, Scott Cawood. He began by asking the audience true or false questions about Rapinoe’s personal life and professional career. He then asked her questions about when she recognized the magnitude of her team’s voice and how they became immersed in pay fairness legislation. They spoke about her falling into a large activist role and dove into details of her 2015 speech on the World Cup stage.
Rapinoe deeply understands the weight of the political issue at hand, and places immense value on teen activists. She said her inspirations are Ellen DeGeneres, for being an activist in the LGBTQ+ community; Gretta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden; Colin Kaepernick, an American football quarterback who is best known for taking a knee during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racism against African Americans; and her teammates, who have been a collective voice in the fight for equality. Rapinoe explained that growing up as a female, being surrounded by other elite female athletes gave her the confidence she needed to use this platform to gain traction as a political activist.
Rapinoe and her soccer team are currently in the middle of a legal battle with their employer over claims of unequal pay. At the 2015 World Cup stage, Rapinoe said her team was not prepared nor organized enough for the uphill battle that was ahead of them. They have since created a unified and refined front, making a difference in their quest for equal pay. “It was an incredible moment,” Rapinoe said. “It was a moment that I think transcended sports and to know that so many of the world governing bodies were there — FIFA representatives were there, as was the president of France — they had to be there in that moment and they had to hear those people. It wasn’t just for us, it was everyone chanting for themselves.”
Rapinoe stated the importance of leaving the world a better place on multiple occasions throughout the keynote speech. She explained that her team has a “deep sense of responsibility on the influence” they hold on future generations.