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U.S. Women’s National Team Makes History: The Broadsheet

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein is charged with sex trafficking, it’s the year of Shirley Chisholm, and the U.S. Women’s National Team earns a victory—and makes history. Have a lovely Monday. 

EVERYONE’S TALKING

I believe that we will win. Did you watch yesterday? Just in case you somehow missed it, the U.S. Women’s National Team won their second-in-a-row World Cup championship and a record fourth title, 2-0 against the Netherlands. Purple-haired star, Megan Rapinoe, was named the tournament’s top scorer and top player. And both teams were led by female coaches. 

The players won despite lots of noise that distracted from the game; noise about the team’s “manners,” about the lack of support from their sport’s governing body, about their fight for fair compensation and respect. But for those reasons, the weight of the win transcended the pitch; it was a historic moment—for women’s soccer, for soccer, for women’s sports, and for women. Has another stadium ever erupted into chants of “equal pay?”

In fact, the victory reaffirms that the team isn’t just fighting for equal pay for equal work. The players are fighting for equal pay for better work, Rebecca Leber writes in Mother Jones

But clinching the championship doesn’t mean they’ll get it. From ESPN: 

“FIFA will award $30 million in prize money for the Women’s World Cup. The men received $400 million last year. [FIFA president Gianni Infantino] said this week he wants to double the prize money for the women’s tournament by the next edition in 2023, but the gap between the genders could actually grow with FIFA expected to award $440 million for the men’s tournament in 2022.”

And those numbers don’t even get into the pay gap among U.S. Soccer

Nevertheless, the win and the women behind it are worth celebrating—at length. I suggest doing so by reading expert insight into the USWNT phenomenon: 

Washington Post sports columnist Sally Jenkins has a must-read on power; it “doesn’t come from lifting a dumbbell or having a big office. … If you want to see real power, watch a swell coming across the ocean, an immeasurable displacement that utterly remakes the terrain. That’s what you witnessed in these U.S. Women’s World Cup champions.” 

The Guardian‘s Moira Donegan reminds us that the USA’s dominance in women’s soccer isn’t an accident—it’s a result of public policy, or Title IX. 

For Slate, Eric Betts evaluates Rapinoe’s legacy on the field and the emergence on the world stage of Rose Lavelle—expected to dominate the next four years. For a meditation on Rapinoe’s now-signature power pose, read this piece by Rachel Bachman in the Wall Street Journal. Or read Louisa Thomas in The New Yorker on Rapinoe as “a kind of beacon, the Statue of Liberty reimagined as a purple-haired social activist with strong feet and a flair for free kicks.”

Don’t forget what the viewership numbers from the World Cup—one in every eight people on the planet—proved: the vast money-making potential of women’s soccer, Maggie Mertens writes in The Atlantic

To relive the joyous moment of victory, browse these photos in The Cut of the team celebrating on the field. And if you can risk a tear or two, watch Nike’s new ad in honor of the champions: “Never Stop Winning.”

Emma Hinchliffe
emma.hinchliffe@fortune.com
@_emmahinchliffe

 

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

Overdue charges. Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire long accused of molesting dozens of girls, was arrested Saturday and charged with sex trafficking. Epstein has ties to influential men from President Donald Trump and President Bill Clinton to L Brands’ Les Wexner and the Royal Family’s Prince Andrew; a decade-old plea deal for years allowed Epstein to escape prosecution.  The Daily Beast

Pay gap plans. To close the pay gap for women of color, Sen. Elizabeth Warren revealed a plan that would put pressure on federal contractors. Agencies would be directed not to do business with companies that underpay black women; federal contractors would also be barred from using forced arbitration agreements. Sen. Kamala Harris has also released an equal pay plan and this weekend announced a plan to close the racial gap in homeownership. Both candidates are polling toward the top of the Democratic field. Essence

Victim, victimized. Indonesia’s Supreme Court ruled that school bookkeeper Nuril Maknun must serve at least six months in prison for recording a phone call from her boss in which he harassed her. He will not serve any time in prison; her charge is for “distributing obscene material.” The case had been an issue in Indonesia’s presidential election, with the president saying that he would grant clemency. New York Times

Eurozone, etc. Christine Lagarde may be poised to be the first woman to lead the European Central Bank, but men still control most of the Eurozone. All the permanent governors among the currency bloc’s 19 members are men. Meanwhile, speculation is underway about who will replace Lagarde at the International Monetary Fund; few women are on that shortlist. And throughout Europe, companies are doing better on gender diversity on boards of directors than their peers in the U.S. or Asia. 

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty named Melanie Gillig its next global head of human resources. Buckingham Strategic Wealth named Wendy Hartman president. DAZN hired Nancy Elder as chief corporate communications officer. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Year of Chisholm. Rep. Shirley Chisholm died 14 years ago, but 2019 belongs to her. Shirley Chisholm State Park opened this week in Brooklyn; Viola Davis and Uzo Aduba are playing her in a film and TV series, respectively; and she will soon be the first female historical figure to have a public monument in Brooklyn. Rep. Yvette Clarke, who holds Chisholm’s seat, is working on getting a statue of her predecessor at the Capitol. Not to mention, it’s almost the 50th anniversary of one of Chisholm’s first history-making achievements: becoming the first African-American woman in Congress. New York Times

Monument to Melania. In other statue news, the first monument to First Lady Melania Trump has been unveiled outside her hometown of Sevnica, Slovenia. Carved into a tree by American conceptual artist Brad Downey, the “scarecrow”-style statue has gotten mixed reviews. Guardian

Seeking asylum. Princess Haya, the most visible of the reported six wives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum of Dubai, is seeking political asylum in the U.K. and asking for a divorce. She fled to London with their two children several months ago; her defection follows failed attempts by two of Sheikh Mohammed’s adult daughters, Sheikha Shamsa al-Maktoum and Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum. New York Times

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ON MY RADAR

Brandi Chastain’s sports bra changed women’s soccer—and women’s history—20 years ago Washington Post

The dominance of the white male critic New York Times

Politics is changing. Why aren’t the pundits who cover it? The Cut

Women crash the pool party New York Times 

QUOTE

Equality is not just measured in terms of the wallet. Equality in terms of the value that they carry.

-Michelle Obama in conversation with Gayle King at the Essence Festival this weekend, on equality in relationships