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The Women’s World Championship Soccer Team Speaks About How Equality is a Team Sport

Last year, we at Luna Bar got behind the USWNT Players because, well, they’re awesome and it’s the right thing to do. We were inspired by their fight—and appalled by their need to fight—to eliminate the ridiculous $31,250 discrepancy between the men’s and women’s National team roster bonuses. For any player named to the women’s roster, we made sure that difference in pay wasn’t there. We closed the gap.

These Players continue to speak up for women’s rights, and not just in their own sport. This group of badass women has become instrumental in championing equality for all underrepresented groups.

To help fuel the fight for equal pay, we’ve created a limited edition Equality Bar, which we’re offering in our three most popular flavors. The Equality Bar will serve as a reminder to continually support equal treatment for everyone, and it goes beyond gender.

We were honored to have had a few members of the US Women’s National Team Player Association chat with us in a Q & A on the topic of equal pay and equality. Take a listen.

US Women's National Soccer Team standing at goal

LUNA: What does being on a team mean to you, both literally and figuratively?

Andi Sullivan (Midfielder; @sunshine_sully): The cool thing about being on a team is being around people that want to bring out the best in you. In life, you always need people supporting you because things are difficult sometimes. I think the team culture that we have is very strong and helps us improve every day.

Lynn Williams (Forward; @lynnerainie): My teammates are some of my best friends; we're so close that they’re my family. They're always there to empower me, and I want to work harder because of them.

LUNA: How is being on a team important in life beyond sports?

Adrianna Franch (Goalkeeper; @ADizzle23): It's not just in sports. It's your family. It's your classmates. It's your coworkers—all these different things. The thing about teams is you take everybody's qualities and specialties and you bring it all together and allow everybody to shine. You find these special talents and you bring them all together to create something beautiful, and that's what we do.

LUNA: How can women who are in an office or in other sorts of environments be a team for each other?

Ashlyn Harris (Goalkeeper; @Ashlyn_Harris): I think all the principles we use for our sport can be applied to any life setting. You're talking about getting the best out of the people around you. I know when I step on the field everyday, I have to think, “How can I move the players around me to be successful? How can I bring the best out of every single individual person who has different needs? How can I be approachable and get the best out of them?” So whether I'm a boss or whether I'm a part of the group in the workforce, it's the same thing. You have to leave your ego at the door at times and you have to really show humility.

I think the whole point of what we're doing is giving people the strength and the courage to stand for something that they believe in. This is a common theme across all industries—equality and pay equity, and it's time for us to start making strides in the right direction and create change. Women need to continue to lift each other so we can create that long-lasting change we're all fighting for.

LUNA: What does “equality as a team sport” mean to you?

Ali Krieger (Defender; @alikrieger): We are inspiring each other to use our platforms for speaking up. Because if we don't speak up for the people in the back, then not a lot will be pushed forward and grow in the direction that we want to grow.

We’ve used our success in such a great way to really speak about this underlying issue that a lot of women go through in all industries. And I think we've done such a great job kind of lifting each other up and empowering each other to speak up more, and to really fight for equality across the board.

I feel like showing up every day with a bunch of bad-ass, powerful women who are so inspiring just makes me want to be a better person, both on and off the field. I also think we really push each other to be better, and to fight for what we believe in, and what we deserve as women, and as human beings, and also as athletes. And we're also fighting for women across all industries. So that also puts pressure on us to want to succeed and be outspoken about what we believe in, and to use our platforms for what's good.

LUNA: What are other ways that you would tell women, or anyone in general, to get involved in this fight for equality and equal pay?

Alyssa Naeher (Goalkeeper; @AlyssaNaeher): I think just general awareness is step one, and education is important. If you can educate yourself on them, then you can speak more accurately to them, and then try to be part of the solution. I think those conversations are important in terms of taking next steps and keep pushing the envelope.

LUNA: Do you see things starting to shift regarding equal pay? Is the conversation getting any easier?

Sam Mewis: I think that we talk so much about "Well, what can you do? What... How do we start this conversation? What's the next step?"

I think that Luna coming in and doing what they did last year and closing that gap between our bonuses, that's just such a tangible step. I think so many companies, so many people who are starting to think about this. Maybe that conversation is getting easier because we have something tangible to point to, to say this is making a difference in equal pay.

Casey Short (Defender; @CaseyShort3): The fact that it is a conversation now…I think that's huge. And I think it'll just continue to progress.

LUNA: What's the equality dream? How would you see yourself, see the world?

Sam Mewis (Midfielder; @sammiemewy): I think the dream is providing an equal opportunity to every single person, whether they’re male, female, black, white, gay, straight, anything. I want every single human to have the opportunity to be whatever they want, to earn what they deserve, and to feel like the opportunities are limitless.

Lynn Williams: Just feeling valued and like you're important, and that your voice matters. I feel like everybody should always have a seat at the table, no matter who you are, what you look like, your sexual orientation. And just you feel valued.

LUNA: Are you hopeful?

Ali Krieger: I am really hopeful. I'm hopeful more so in these last couple of years than I ever have been. I really feel like we're more visible. We're all speaking up. We're creating this team of powerful women across all industries, all together, and it's so inspiring. It's so empowering. And I think we have spoken up so much more in the past couple of years.

It’s power in numbers, and women have to just continue the conversation. We have to continue to fight in our own workspaces, and just know that there's someone out there fighting just as hard.

Ashlyn Harris: We're foot soldiers right now. We're just laying the groundwork for everyone to just follow the lead. There are people who came before us, who gave us the strength and courage to do this right now. And we're just trying to team up because we're stronger in numbers. And that's why we have TIME’S UP and all these incredible actresses, and people in all different industries. This is not just about us. It's not just about soccer.