Harris teams up with women’s soccer team to mark Equal Pay Day

Vice President Harris marked Equal Pay Day on Tuesday with a conversation with members of the United States women’s soccer team about their fight for fair pay.

“Obviously you have all been champions in terms of skill and your dominance in terms of women’s football, but we are here today because you have also been leaders on an issue that affects most women and that’s affected most women in the workforce, and that’s the issue of pay equity,” Harris said to kick off the panel.

US Women’s National Team players Kelley O’Hara and Margaret Purce sat with the Vice President, along with former players Briana Scurry, Julie Foudy and Cindy Parlow Cone, President of the US Soccer Federation. Fellow soccer stars Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan joined the conversation virtually.

Harris asked the players about their equal pay lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation, which was settled in February for $24 million.

She specifically asked Scurry about the risks of the lawsuit. Scurry said having your name on a legal document creates extra work on top of playing and winning football games.

“The vulnerability of putting your name on a legal document and then putting yourself in a court of adversarial nature, all because you want to be paid equal pay for equal work and what that requires of this woman, beyond to do a good job, to your point, I think it’s such, it’s a subtle but incredibly important point,” Harris replied.

The VP asked Rapinoe about the lessons she’s learned from women in other industries.

“I will certainly not pass up this opportunity for my life and the first time, hopefully not the last, to simply say: Madam Vice-President. It’s incredible. And, while it may not have to do specifically with equal pay, I think it speaks to a changing landscape that we are all part of,” Rapinoe said.

She noted that while she sees herself in the union workers in Alabama and they see themselves in the team, “it’s kind of the same thing because we’re all dealing with the same issues.”

The Biden administration on Tuesday proposed regulations that would prevent federal agencies from using a job applicant’s salary history in the hiring process.

“Salary transparency creates responsibility and accountability, well, that drives progress,” Harris said of the order of remarks before the panel. “We can build a fairer, more efficient and more equitable economy.”

Harris noted that in 2020, the average woman working full time earned 83 cents for every dollar paid to the average man.

Equal Pay Day marks the yearly date on which women must work to earn the same pay as men in the previous year.

Biden will also sign an executive order on pay equity and transparency for federal contractors and the Department of Labor will highlight a new directive that clarifies that federal contractors are required to analyze compensation practices on an annual basis.

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