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Women’s World Cup a milestone for women’s sport, says equal pay advocate Megan Rapinoe

Megan Rapinoe was joint top scorer at the Women’s World Cup and was voted player of the tournament as she led the United States to victory in France in July. AFP/File

US forward Megan Rapinoe expressed her belief that the upcoming Women’s World Cup is a transformative moment for women’s sports worldwide.  

With the tournament set to take place in Australia and New Zealand, Rapinoe, a key advocate for equal pay, acknowledged the progress made in the fight for gender equality while acknowledging that there is still work to be done. 

In a recent interview, she said that the Women’s World Cup has evolved into a premier global sporting event, capturing the attention of fans, media, and sponsors alike. Rapinoe’s optimism stems from the growing recognition of the incredible talent and potential within women’s sports.

Rapinoe highlighted the changing landscape of women’s sports, stressing, “Women’s sports right now feels like we’re sort of out of just the dogged fight phase. It feels like a real opportunity to blow the lid off in terms of fanfare and media and sponsorships.” 

She noted that supporting women’s sports is not just the right thing to do but also a smart business decision, as the Women’s World Cup has become a cultural phenomenon and a global paradigm shift.

The conversation surrounding equal pay between men’s and women’s national teams has played a significant role in the women’s game. Rapinoe, who was at the forefront of the US team’s equal pay dispute with US Soccer, acknowledged that progress has been made, including a collective bargaining agreement that established equal prize money and improved benefits for the women’s national team. However, she also expressed the need for continued efforts to ensure proper compensation for the world’s best women footballers.

While the U.S. team looks to secure an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup title, Rapinoe stressed the importance of the tournament in providing a platform for players to focus solely on their game and entertain fans. She stated, “You’re going to see the best product on the field, and that’s because players are going to be able to be put in a position to just focus on the game.”

With a mix of experienced veterans and young talents, the U.S. team aims to make their mark on the tournament. Coach Vlatko Andonovski expressed confidence in his squad’s ability to handle the tough competition and the leadership of players like Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and Lindsey Horan. 

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