Skip to Content

Why today’s Women’s World Cup parade is kicking up controversy

USA women's soccer team celebrates their FIFA World Cup championship in New York City on Friday, July 10. Photograph by Jewel Samad – Getty Images

The Canyon of Heroes will be transformed into the Canyon of Heroines as the first ticker tape parade for a woman’s sports team is held today at 11 am in lower Manhattan. (Male and female gymnasts were honored after the 1984 Olympics, and in 1960 Queens’ hometown figure-skating champion Carol Heiss Jenkins got her own parade.)

But the parade celebrating the U.S. Women’s National soccer team’s victory in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup has also been drawing attention for things it is not celebrating—including unequal pay for the female athletes and a meager showing of sponsors.

Yesterday, it was reported that only $450,000 of the $2 million cost of the parade had been raised via outside sponsors. When WSJ political reporter Josh Dawsey tweeted this news, disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner tried to shame the Mayor, claiming he could do better.

Representative Carolyn Maloney is doing better, tweeting out her support for the lack of equal pay for the US Women’s Team.

The total $2 millions cost for the 2012 parade for the NY Giants’ Superbowl win was reportedly covered by sponsors. The city says it is still raising funds for today’s parade, but because of the short notice, it has had less time to defray the costs.

Meanwhile, the MLS soccer team New York City FC drummed up a fresh round of controversy when the club tweeted that it would also participate in the parade. Some Twitter users responded angrily, saying that the men’s team has no business having its own float in an event intended to honor the female players. (Both New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls are expected to participate today.)

Then there’s the plane that’s scheduled to fly overhead from 9 am to noon, as part of the activist group UltraViolet’s attempt to draw attention to their Equal Pay for Equal Play campaign. The national anti-sexism group has been fighting FIFA since February on the issue. Their efforts were renewed when the news broke that the women’s team was awarded $2 million for their win as compared to $35 million for the 2014 Wen’s World Cup champs. The USA men’s team received $8 million last year after losing in the first round.

The group will also have bike riders out all day with billboards touting the same message: @UltraViolet: FIFA — Equal Pay 4 Equal Play

Karyn Roland, organizing director for UltraViolet, says, “This is obviously a huge moment for women’s soccer and for this amazing women’s national team. We don’t want to take away from that, we want to celebrate that. But we also want to take the opportunity to point out that we should be paying these phenomenal women equal pay for equal play.”