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Opinion | Celebrate wildly and get an equal paycheck

Joey Kennedy

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I’m glad the U.S. Women’s World Cup soccer team celebrated after each goal in its 13-0 win over Thailand.

I’m happy about that. I’m thrilled, in fact. I’m for the Women’s World Cup soccer team. I hope they beat every opponent by 13-0 and celebrate each goal as if it’s the first.

The criticism of the team is so much noise. And that’s all it is. Noise.

Do we criticize the Alabama football team when it beats Ole Miss 62-7 or Arkansas State 57-7? Of course we don’t. We love it. We don’t ask Alabama’s third team to go easy. We want them to go hard. And win hard.

We don’t tell Auburn to take it easy on Liberty University in a 53-0 rout. Why would we? Auburn probably did hold back, but it still won 53-0.

The U.S. women were showing why they’re the favorite once again to win the World Cup, and that’s the message it should send. The message that should be received is that the women soccer stars should be paid as well as the U.S. men who didn’t even make it to the last World Cup.

But they’re not. And this isn’t just the case for world class soccer players, who certainly deserve to be paid at least as well as the men.

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It’s true for all women who do the same work as men but get paid less for doing it.

My mother, God rest her soul, spent a big part of her career in banking training men to do her job. They were paid better than her when she was training them and paid even better after they were trained by her.

If the men needed to be shown how to do their jobs, she showed them. And when the paychecks came around, they showed her. Absolutely disgraceful.

People are picking on the country’s best athletes because they trounced an opponent? Get a life. And get them pay equality while you’re getting it.

This is just the point my friend Lilly Ledbetter fought for and lost in the courts because a bunch of men didn’t think she should be paid as much as them. She was being paid thousands less than her male colleagues in the same position at the Goodyear tire plant in Gadsden.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was President Barack Obama’s first official piece of legislation he signed when he became president. And, yet, women are still being paid less than men. For doing the same jobs. For doing it, often, better than those men. Like the U.S. Women’s World Cup soccer team.

What’s wrong with us? Women deserve to be paid as well as men and, likely in more cases than not, better than men. But we should, at the very least, concede that women should be paid as equally well as men.

My mom shouldn’t have had to train men to do her job so they could get paid more to do it half as well.

So I’m happy the U.S. World Cup Women’s soccer ladies celebrated their trouncing of Thailand. I hope they trounce Chile on Sunday. And I hope they go through the entire World Cup, winning every match 13-0 and celebrating wildly every goal they score.

Were the U.S. women being unsportsmanlike by thrashing the Thai ladies and celebrating that thrashing? No. They were winning and winning big. Let’s celebrate with them. And pay them equally to do it.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]

 

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