By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. — Kara Hahn “absolutely hopes” that what she, other members of the Suffolk County Legislature and local women’s leaders have started catches fire and is copied by other by other organizations throughout the country.

As part of Equal Pay Day Tuesday, the Gender Equity Coalition used the plight of the U.S. women’s national team as an example of unequal pay between men and women. Women in Suffolk County and New York are paid 80 cents on the dollar compared to men.

Last month, the members of the U.S. women’s side, defending Women’s World Cup champions, filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, seeking equal pay.

“I think this is a perfect example,” Hahn said in the lobby of the County Legislature after the group’s announcement. “The women’s national team is a perfect example of unfair treatment when there’s equal performance requirements for the same employer, they have unmatched success on the field and they should be paid and promoted equally.”

Hahn, the legislature’s majority leader, used her personal experience as a Soccer Mom and fan of the beautiful game. She cited when she and her daughters attended the ticker-tape parade in the Canyon of Heroes in New York City that honored the U.S. world championship team in 2015.

“So when I say that young girls around the world look up to these players, even idolize them, I speak from personal experience and when I say their fight for equal pay present a teachable moment for young girls, I speak ,from personable experience,” she said. “As a mother, I want my daughters to know that even their idols face gender discrimination and to witness these extraordinary models of strength, competitiveness and determination to fight as a fearlessly for their rights off the field as the do for victory on the field.

“Every young woman, every girl, should be able to dream of their future without the taint of discrimination. So, today, we call on the U.S. Soccer Federation to treat the three-time world champions, four-time gold medal Olympic soccer champions fairly and equally with their male counterparts.”

Posted by Michael Lewis on Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Hahn announced she was sending a letter and a message to USSF president Carlos Cordeiro and vice president Cindy Park Cone, a former U.S. international who was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame last October, about gender equity. A copy of the letter can be found below and on http://chng.it/k54wZZqJH6. (named play and team women’s soccer players the same as male players).

 

April 1, 2019
Carlos Cordeiro, President
US Soccer Federation
1801 S. Prairie Ave.
Chicago, IL 60616

To President Cordeiro;

As coaches and parents involved in youth soccer, we are writing to express our support for the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team in their fight against gender discrimination. As you know, on International Women’s Day, the world champion team filed a gender discrimination suit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, citing salary disparities and unequal logistical infrastructure support, including inferior training, promotion, and playing conditions than their male counterparts.

Despite consistently greater success on the field than the U.S. Men’s Soccer team, the three-time world champion, four-time Olympic gold medal U.S. Women’s Soccer team continues to be compensated with a fraction of the salary paid to members of the men’s team. According to the suit, this disparity is coupled with inequity on the field, and often results in more hazardous settings in which to practice, train, perform, and recover.

This lawsuit comes at a time when women are increasingly empowered to fight for equality throughout society. Young girls around the world look to the players on the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team as role models who exemplify unmatched strength, ability, talent, and fearlessness. The team stands as a testament to U.S. Title IX, the 1972 federal legislation that guarantees equal opportunity in education, which greatly advanced women’s athletics. Their lawsuit sends a message of solidary with women worldwide who are fighting for equality in the workplace and thus, presents an important teachable moment for our children about gender disparity and the ongoing fight for women’s equal rights.

We agree with the members of the Suffolk County Legislature, also supporting this cause, who are convinced that attaining gender equality is critical to the wellbeing of all members of society. As coaches and parents of female student athletes, we find the incongruence between the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Soccer Teams to be unacceptable. We have cheered these women on to championships on the field, and now it is time for us to cheer them on in court.

Therefore, we join with the Suffolk County Legislature to stand in solidarity with the U.S.
Women’s Soccer Team.

Sincerely,
__________________

“The lawsuit will be decided in court, but there is also a court of public opinion,” said Hahn, who urged soccer players, coaches and women to sign and post the petition on social media.

“We can cheer the team on the field,” Hahn said. “Now it time to get behind them as they fight for fair treatment off the field. We owe them that much for all they have inspired us to dream.”

Hope Hahn, one of the majority leader’s daughters, spoke at the gathering.

“Ever since I can remember I have loved playing soccer,” she said. “I dream of playing in college and maybe for the U.S. national team or Olympic team. Hey, I’m only 12 and you never know. I know there’s a lot of hard work to get there and it takes and commitment and effort, lots of practice and training and sacrifice to get there. It would be very disappointing to work just as hard, to commit just as much, practice just as long, and sacrifice equally, only to be paid less and … just because we are girls, there should be equal pay for equal time.”

Posted by Michael Lewis on Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Several players from the Stony Brook Soccer Club attended the event, along with Ward Melville women’s coaches, and one coach from SUSA, a youth soccer club.

“I agree with everything they were saying, and I think that women deserve equal rights and pay,” said Tara DiBernardo, who is a teacher and a coach at Ward Melville and a SUSA trainer and coach. “I totally support this organization and that’s why I am here to show my support.

“I don’t know about other parts of the country, but I can definitely talk to my girls about it and my teams about it since I do coach multiple teams and girls. I think that making them acknowledge that this is going on and educating them on fighting for their rights is something I can do on long island and just continue to support all the movements and legislation that our legislators are doing for us.”

Among those groups who attended the event included Gender Equity Group of Long Island, Suffolk majority leader Kara Hahn, Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright, Long Island Against Domestic Violence executive director Colleen Merlo, Girl Scouts of Suffolk County chair Donna Smeland, Suffolk County Human Rights Commission executive director Dawn Lott and Suffolk County Women’s Business Enterprise Coalition director Maggie Goldstein.

Others there included Suffolk Legislators Sarah Anker, Susan A. Berland and deputy presiding officer Robert Calarco, Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner, Brookhaven Town Clerk Lauren Thoden, deputy Town of Brookhaven Clerk (representing Town Clerk Donna Lent) and Suffolk County Women’s Enterprise Coalition chairwoman Raffelina Cipriano, Chairwoman of Suffolk County Women’s Business Enterprise Coalition.