Gender VS Fair Competition
For decades women have been fighting to get recognized playing the sports they love. Even in the 21st century, we are fighting for things that are still gender-specific, including different pay rates. Young women that play sports are striving to make a difference. Alexa Hawraniak plays soccer for her Cegep, John Abbott College. She is also part of the feminist society club in John Abbott college, making her even more passionate about this subject.
Alexa and I met at Starbucks on a breezy Autumn day. She walked in with her head held high and a walk with grace. I could smell her peppermint tea even before she got to the table. We chitchatted for a bit before we got to the goods. I asked her whether she plays soccer for fun or as a future profession? Her eyes immediately lit up with a fiery passion. "I do not necessarily play for fun. I am a super competitive person, so I really like competition. I play AAA for my Cegep also. So, I would not necessarily say for a future profession, maybe like university soccer is my next goal." I then asked why she does not want to play soccer as a profession. Alexa laughed hysterically, nudging my shoulder. She said, "Do not get me wrong, I love soccer with my girls, but some of the people I play with are crazy! I also do not really enjoy running. I am interested and invested in being a crime scene investigator."
When asked, "What is it like being a female soccer player?" Alexa wiggled in her seat and said, "I think as a female soccer player, women always must work harder, they always must prove themselves more, even if they do better in stats and everything. They always have to do more because it will never be good enough." When we touched upon whether being a female player has any disadvantages, Alexa sighed and said, "I don't think it gives me that much of a disadvantage at all. I mean, obviously, sometimes they do not take us seriously, which is annoying. Even though here in North America, women's soccer is a lot bigger than men's soccer. The women's teams do historically better than the men's teams as we have proven in world cups, Olympics, for example, the American women's team won 4 world cups, won the Olympic gold and this year women just won gold so."
We transitioned to something that would lighten the mood. We took a little break, we joked around things that have been going on lately. I mentioned that I saw the picture on the John Abbott College website of her with her teammates, and the girls seemed to be so happy. I asked if she found it empowering to be playing on an all-girls soccer team? Alexa laughed and said, "For sure! I think playing soccer with women is diffidently empowering, we joke about things and hangout outside of the soccer field. We all go to the same school and we are all hashtag girl bosses. I think just being a team with all these girls who love playing the sport, who want better for the sport is always great and we all share the same passion." Alexa was grinning ear to ear, talking about the girls on the team.
I did some research on the pay difference between female and male soccer players are it was shocking. I asked Alexa, "It has significantly been over 50 years since the Equal Pay Act was passed in the United States and men still get paid more than women. What do you think about the pay difference?" She was processing this information because she seemed upset and fed up with how men get paid more than women. Alexa said, "The difference between men and women soccer players are atomical. It goes back to women. We only played soccer since the 80s-90s and only started becoming popular in the early 2000s. This is crazy to me because it is 2021, and times are changing, yet this is still happening. There is no logical reason this should be happening."
Female soccer players are not seen as equals to male soccer players. It has been decades, and nothing is changing. Soccer is still being viewed as gender-specific because female soccer is newer in comparison. There are pros and cons to everything, and you need to exceed the cons to break boundaries and be the change. Alexa loves her passion even though there is controversy around it, and she wants to exceed people's expectations of female soccer players.