Why Is Hope Solo At The White House Correspondents’ Dinner? She's Fighting Hard For Equal Pay
The White House Correspondents' Dinner is on Saturday, and the star-studded guest list is filling up. However, there's at least one athlete who will be seated among the celebrities ranging from Kendall Jenner to Mark Ruffalo: Hope Solo. It was recently confirmed that the U.S. women's soccer team goalie, Hope Solo, will attend the White House Correspondents' Dinner, and be seated at the Atlantic Media table — quite possibly to bring attention to the wage-discrimination lawsuit she filed against the U.S. Soccer Federation in March (along with teammates Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Alex Morgan, and Megan Rapinoe).
Understandably fed up by the fact that players on the U.S. women's soccer team make four times less than their male counterparts — even though the women's team grossed $20 million more for the U.S. Soccer Federation in 2015 than the men's team did — five players, including Solo, are suing the Federation for wage-discrimination. (The Federation has denied wrongdoing.) ESPN reported that Solo said of the lawsuit:
We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships, and the [men] get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.
The lawsuit has spurred public outrage over the clear gender-based discrimination — Hillary Clinton even tweeted her support of the team — and considering the media coverage of the White House Correspondents' Dinner, the event is sure to draw even more attention to the cause Solo is spearheading.
If the White House Correspondents' Dinner host, comedian Larry Wilmore mentions the U.S. women's soccer team's lawsuit in his monologue, it will not be the first time a comedian has paid homage to the underpaid athletes. In fact, Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show, highlighted the absurdity of the pay-gap in an April skit.
Solo and her teammates are still waiting for a decision to be made in the U.S. women's soccer team lawsuit — it's likely that a decision will not be announced until June — however, the team is working hard to bring publicity to their case. In a recent New York Times essay, Solo's teammate Carli Lloyd, wrote about the wage discrimination the women's team faces:
If I were a male soccer player who won a World Cup for the United States, my bonus would be $390,000. Because I am a female soccer player, the bonus I got for our World Cup victory last summer was $75,000.
Additionally, Solo has broadened her fight, often tweeting in support of the still-not-passed Equal Rights Amendment — a constitutional amendment first proposed in 1923 which would guarantee equal rights for women, and would make the disparity between the two soccer team's salaries illegal.
It's hard to imagine the U.S. women's soccer team losing their lawsuit considering how much less players on the women's team make in comparison to their (far less successful) counterparts on the U.S. men's soccer team. Hopefully, Solo's appearance at the White House Correspondents' Dinner will bring more political attention to the lawsuit, and encourage lawmakers to address the issue of equal pay for all American women. The U.S. women's soccer team is expected to win gold at the Olympic games in Rio this summer; it will be disgraceful if they are not fairly compensated for their win.