The DUSC Character Strength for March is Resilience. We also celebrate Women's History Month and it is natural to blend these together to show how the beautiful game has evolved across the globe and here in the United States for girls and women in soccer. According to FIFA, there has been an 85 percent increase in the number of soccer associations around the world running grassroots programs for girls and women in the last five years. But, there was and still is a long way to go.
Four months before the beginning of the 2018 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the U.S. Women’s National Team decided they had to do more to fight for equal pay and sued U.S. Soccer.
They filed on International Women’s Day.
For six years, the members of the World Cup-winning United States Women’s Soccer Team showed incredible resilience and grit in fighting for equitable treatment of female players. They argued about whether they deserved the same treatment as their male counterparts and about the definition of what constituted equal pay. They spoke consistently about long-held perceptions in soccer that felt impossible to change. They never gave up exposing sexism in soccer, which is at times so normalized that we often don’t see it.
Fittingly, on the dawn of Women's History Month, the long fight ended last week with a settlement that included a multimillion-dollar payment to the players and a promise by their federation to equalize pay between the men’s and women’s national teams.
They embraced the character strength resilience - a trademark of the US Women's National team on and off the field - to become winners in the battle for equality in soccer.