It is so easy to sit back and ignore inequality when it doesn't technically affect you. So easy to sort of sigh and shake your head and disagree in comfortable silence. But former Team USA soccer captain Abby Wambach clearly has no interest in doing things the easy way. She's all about doing things the right way. Which is why former soccer star Wambach supports the USWNT lawsuit claiming gender discrimination and calling for equal pay. She might be retired from the sport after a massively successful career, but she's still supporting her former teammates by doing the right thing.
Abby Wambach retired from soccer in 2015 after winning two Olympic gold medals. To this day she holds the world record for most goals scored by a man or a woman in soccer (184 total), as per Biography, and since her retirement, she has channeled all of that talent and energy into something new; she is focused on equal pay across the board. Which is why she is supporting the gender discrimination lawsuit filed on International Women's Day by the United States women's soccer team. Because she might not be playing anymore, but as she told Glamour she is simply done "feeling grateful."
Wambach told Glamour in an interview that she spent years simply feeling grateful to be able to play soccer, but she has had enough of the inequality:
It’s not just about the dollars and cents that are going to be in our bank accounts at the end of the day. It’s respect. We want to be treated equally as our counterparts; we want to be treated fairly. It’s about women being able to provide for their family, about women being able to retire at the right time and not being strapped for cash in retirement. It’s about women getting their life back in ways we have yet to even understand. For me this is just a step in the right direction and wherever the women’s team leads us, for sure I will follow.
A total of 28 women are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit against U.S. Soccer, as per NPR, claiming the organization has long been discriminating against women by paying them less than their male counterparts [link?]. This issue has cropped up several times in recent years, with a similar charge of discrimination being lobbied against U.S. Soccer in 2016 by five players asking for equal pay; a decision has yet to be made in this case, as per CNN. Alex Morgan, a member of the team and a named plaintiff in the lawsuit, said, as per The San Diego Union-Tribune:
Each of us is extremely proud to wear the United States jersey, and we also take seriously the responsibility that comes with that. We believe that fighting for gender equality in sports is a part of that responsibility.
U.S. Soccer has yet to comment on this recent lawsuit, but Abby Wambach is happy to make her own thoughts clear. She supports her former teammates, who she refers to in her Glamour interview as a "beacon of hope for women everywhere," but she also is trying to change the way women see themselves in general. She is about to release a book called Wolfpack: How To Come Together, Unleash Our Power, & Change The Game. This book is based on her inspiring 2018 commencement speech at Barnard, where she told women that she wished she "could go back and tell my younger self one thing, it would be this: 'Abby, you were never Little Red Riding Hood; you were always the wolf.'"
Abby Wambach is clearly a woman you want in your corner. A woman you want fighting the good fight and supporting you and cheering you on.
And I think it's safe to say she's probably not a woman you want to go up against.