The real reason the U.S. women’s soccer team makes less money – The Washington Post


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Megan McArdle’s July 10 op-ed, “A poor arena to fight out the issue of equal pay,” was everything an op-ed should be: thought-provoking, well argued and well written. But it also missed the point entirely. 

Ms. McArdle stated that pay is a function of fans’ choices and fans’ choices may not have anything to do with sexism. Men make more money because more people watch men play and “biology has been less generous to women in the matters of strength and speed.” Actually, the men’s tournament gets a broader audience because, for decades, it was the only option. In many parts of the world, women were not allowed to play soccer. It has nothing to do with athleticism. Biology is not destiny.

A 2018 survey of U.S. youths’ attitudes toward gender equality illustrates that at the root of inequality are deeply ingrained attitudes and beliefs around what it means to be a boy or a girl. Those attitudes are the result of behaviors they see in parents, relatives, teachers, coaches and, of course, the media. It has been more than 50 years since the Equal Pay Act was passed, but our attitudes about gender norms continue, in many ways, to be deeply rooted in the past.

The U.S. women’s national team does not make less money because its players are slower and less interesting to watch. Did Ms. McArdle watch the final?

Tessie San Martin, Washington

The writer is president and chief executive
of Plan International USA.

Read more letters to the editor.


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