The Canadian women’s soccer team is fighting for equality

Sophie Schmidt and Sabrina D'Angelo of Canada look on as they wear purple shirts that read

Sophie Schmidt and Sabrina D’Angelo of Canada look on as they wear purple shirts that read “Enough” before the 2023 SheBelieves Cup match against the US
Image: beautiful pictures

The Canada women’s national football team is the defending Olympic gold medalist. There is no reason why they should cut the budget. There is no reason why they should be paid less than their male counterparts. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be supported, especially when they’re the best team ever.

On February 10, the Football Players Association of Canada issued a declare, expressed their frustration at the budget cuts and lack of funding. We are six months away from the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and can’t Canada sponsor its team that has dominated the last 10 years? They are Olympic champions. It’s outrageous, it’s unfair, and it’s a terrible look.

The statement also discusses that these negotiations between the player and the organization have been going on for about a year. Budget cuts have left players with fewer training sessions, some training windows removed from the calendar entirely, and fewer players and staff invited to practice. The players have also alleged that they were not paid at all for their 2022 season.

“It hurts, I won’t lie,” said Canada captain Christine Sinclair told TSN on February 10. “We are all proud to represent this country. We shared some of the best moments together. But not feeling that support from your own federation has been difficult in the past. But it has gotten to the point where, at least for me personally, until this is resolved, I cannot represent this federation. I’m a competitor that breaks my heart and kills me.”

The Canadian team rallies have begun. They’ve been practicing all week wearing shirts inside out and wearing purple thermal vestwith “Enough is enough” was written on it before their first game in the SheBelieves Cup on February 16, where they lost 2-0 to the United States. The Canadian national team also threatened not to play anymore after this tournamenteffectively strike until an agreement is reached or new management steps in.

Equal pay debate

The most recent and arguably largest movement in the equal pay debate was with the USWNT, whose lawsuit was settled in February of last year. The skinny of the lawsuit and all the details are essentially that the women weren’t getting paid as much as the men’s national team, which posed a huge problem because the women won two straight World Cups, and at that time, the men hadn’t really had much to show. They were able to get a new CBA where they are guaranteed the same amount of money as the men’s team, and a settlement worth $24 million.

“There’s no real justice in this other than this never happening again,” midfielder Megan Rapinoe speak GAME at that time. “Given the settlement of working conditions and this settlement depending on the CBA getting equal pay in the future, there is no other way to view it than as a monumental victory for women’s sports and women’s sports. especially women’s football.”

But then it happened again. This time, with neighbors to the north.

Rapinoe and teammates Alex Morgan and Becky Sauerbrunn have publicly shared their support for Team Canada.

“We’re with them 100% and obviously know exactly what they’re going through, how difficult it is to do all that off the pitch and have to show,” Rapinoe said on February 15.

Ahead of Thursday’s game, players from both the USWNT and Canada WNT had a moment of solidarity together, taking part at central circle.

This is a problem that we have seen in women’s sports for a long time. Each time, there is a sign heard around the world that implies something along the lines of “disappointed, but not surprised”. It’s not hard to make things equal, so why do we have these problems?

It’s hard to pinpoint. You could call it systematic, because historically women made less money than men. You could also say that it never should have happened and that there’s no reason for professional female athletes to make less money in the first place. Canada deserves better, women’s sport deserves better. This is a reminder that the fight for equality is not over yet.

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