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Megan Rapinoe is vowing to fight for equal pay for the rest of her life

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Christobel Hastings
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Megan Rapinoe, World Cup champion and U.S. women's national soccer team co-captain

Equal pay, racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights - nothing is off-limits for the champion of the Women’s World Cup, Megan Rapinoe.

We may be only halfway through the year, but if there’s one woman who has already won 2019 for her outstanding football skills, fearless social activism, and powerful commentary on the state on American politics, it’s Megan Rapinoe.

But for the star of the US women’s soccer team, who won both the Fifa Women’s World Cup Golden Boot and Golden Ball after helping her team secure their fourth victory in the Women’s World Cup, the advocacy doesn’t stop there.

In a new interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Rapinoe vowed to continue to fight for equal pay across all genders and races for the rest of her life.

“I do continue to keep playing,” Rapinoe said on the show when asked about her post-World Cup plans. “I’m not sure I’m qualified for office…I’m gonna fight for equal pay, every day, for myself, for my team and for every single person out there - man, woman, immigrant, U.S. citizen, person of colour, whatever it may be. 

The US forward and co-captain is one of 28 members of the US women’s soccer team who are currently fighting a federal lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation to receive equal treatment to their male counterparts, and has been a prominent voice in the battle to secure equal pay after it emerged that women’s soccer games now actually generate more revenue than the men’s games. 

Rapinoe also paid tribute to Serena Williams, who reaffirmed her fight for equality in a post-match press conference at Wimbledon over the weekend. “Equal pay, as the great Serena Williams said, until I’m in my grave.”

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The firebrand forward, who scored six goals in the tournament, also made headlines recently for rejecting the possibility of visiting the White House to meet Donald Trump should the UWSNT win the World Cup, and refusing to back down after the POTUS publicly called her out on Twitter.

Meanwhile, after returning home for a victory parade up the Canyon of Heroes in New York City with the US women’s soccer team, Rapinoe told NBC that she vowed to keep social issues at the forefront of the agenda with her high-profile platform. 

“I think people are asking the question, ‘How can we rally around this team?’ … whether it’s equal pay or racial equality or LGBTQ rights. I think we’ve just managed to give people hope. And with that now we need to do the next step, which is to actually take the progress step,” she said.

“Do you, you know, believe that all people are created equal? Do you believe that equal pay should be mandated? Do you believe that everyone should have healthcare? Do you believe that we should treat everyone with respect? I think those are the basics of what we’re talking about.”

Rapinoe also had news for people assuming that the 2019 tournament might have been her last. “I’m going to get another one,” she said, referring to the 2023 Women’s World Cup. “I mean, five is better than four.”

For anyone doubting the power of the soccer star’s social activism, the Rapinoe effect shouldn’t be underestimated. Over the weekend, Procter & Gamble, a major consumer goods company, announced that it was donating $500,000 to the USWNT to help close the wage gap, which equates to around $23,000 for each member of the 23-woman squad. With their adverts in the New York Times, P&G also urged the US Soccer Federation to commit to paying the US women’s soccer team the same as the men’s team. 

“Let’s take this moment of celebration to propel women’s sports forward,” the advert reportedly read. “We urge the US Soccer Federation to be a beacon of strength and end gender pay inequality once and for all.”

Image: Getty

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Christobel Hastings

Christobel Hastings is a London-based journalist covering pop culture, feminism, LGBTQ and lore.

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