USWNT and Canada unite in protest for gender equality and trans rights before SheBelieves Cup game
The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) and Canada’s women’s soccer team gathered in a circle moments before kickoff on Thursday to show solidarity with the Canadians in their equal pay dispute with the national federation ahead of their opening match of the SheBelieves Cup at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida.
Canada’s players wore purple T-shirts that read “Enough is enough” before kickoff, choosing purple as a “symbol of protest,” the Canadian Soccer Players’ Association (CSPA) said in a statement prior to the game.
“Purple has historically been associated with efforts to achieve gender equality,” the statement added. “Considering the current circumstances, our players will continue to wear purple until our association has standards in place that ensure equal treatment and opportunity.”
Both teams wore purple tape around their wrists “in the name of gender equality,” the USWNT Players Association said in a statement, in a show of support for the Canadian women. The white tape on their other wrist with “Defend Trans Joy” written on it was to support trans rights, the statement added.
Players from Canada’s women’s soccer team said Wednesday that they are participating at the SheBelieves Cup under “protest” due to their gender pay equity dispute with the national federation remaining unresolved.
Last week, the team called off its strike a day after it was announced and resumed training after the sport’s governing body Canada Soccer threatened legal action, players said on February 11.
US Soccer agreed to an equal pay deal in May last year.
“Given that this tournament was established to highlight gender equality, it will be the first time that the USWNT Players will be treated as equals. While we thank US Soccer for their leadership, we know that it took courage from our USWNT Players to stand together both in collective bargaining and through litigation,” read the USWNT Players Association statement.
“Although we are now on the other side of this fight and can focus on our play on the field, our counterparts in Canada and elsewhere are experiencing the same pervasive misogyny and unequal treatment that we faced.
“We stand with all women’s footballers in calling attention to their collective fight, but also call on everyone to enjoy and support the fight to eradicate ALL inequality and discrimination that exists in our sport.”
The USWNT defeated Canada 2-0 in the first match of the group stage. USWNT star Mallory Swanson scored twice in Thursday’s victory.