United States star Megan Rapinoe has testified to Congress and made an appearance at the White House as part of Equal Pay Day in the US.
The 2019 Ballon d'Or Feminin winner told a committee hearing examining the issue of equal pay that she did not understand why pay inequality was still a problem with the United States' men's and women's teams.
“I am here today because I know firsthand that this is true. We are told in this country that if you just work hard and continue to achieve - you will be rewarded, fairly. It’s the promise of the American dream. But that promise has not been for everyone," Rapinoe said.
“The United States women’s national team has won four World Cup championships and four Olympic gold medals on behalf of our country. We have filled stadiums, broken viewing records, and sold out jerseys, all popular metrics by which we are judged.
“Yet despite all of this, we are still paid less than men – for each trophy, of which there are many, each win, each tie, each time we play. Less.
"I feel like honestly we’ve done everything.
“You want stadiums filled? We filled them. You want role models for your kids, for your boys, and your girls, and your little trans kids? We have that. You want us to be respectful? You want us to perform on the world stage?...”
Rapinoe's appreance in the US capital comes after a federal judge dismissed an unequal pay claim by players on the US women’s national soccer team in May 2020.
At the time, the players had asked for more than $66m ($87M AUD) in damages under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The USWNT did make some progress in December 2020 when they agreed on a deal with the US Soccer Federation over equal work conditions with their male counterparts.
That agreement covered travel, accommodation, playing and training surfaces and facilities among other things.
The 35-year-old former Sydney FC player wasn't just testifying in regards to the US women's football team, but all sports.
“With the lack of proper investment we don’t know the real potential of women’s sports,” she said.
“What we know is how successful women’s sports have been in the face of discrimination, in the face of a lack of investment in every level in comparison to men.”
Rapinoe also her reiterated her support for trans athletes.
“As a member of the LGBTQ community I firmly stand with the trans family,” Rapinoe said.
“As someone who has played sports with someone who is trans I can assure you all is well. Nothing is spontaneously combusting.”