Alex Morgan: I Won’t Back Down Until There’s Equal Pay for Equal Play

April 12, 2016 Press

Growing up in Southern California, I was what most would consider a tomboy. My two sisters, Jeri and Jenny, and I were never at home, always running around the neighborhood, or at practice — volleyball, softball, soccer. We never sat still. And we played right alongside the boys. The teams were always co-ed when we played for fun.

At home, my mom and my dad shared equally in the responsibilities of the family and our home, and always demonstrated the importance of men and women having an equal role. My mom even took night classes for five years when I was young to earn a master’s degree in business and laid her own path for a successful career. They both wanted to provide for their family, and they taught me how to be a good, reliable, upstanding person, sister, and teammate.

I rarely felt or noticed any real divide between girls and boys when I was growing up. Maybe it was because I was so involved in sports and competed with the boys. Maybe it was my mom and dad, who constantly instilled confidence in me and never made me feel as though there were boy activities and girl activities.

It wasn’t until 1999 when my idols Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly took home the women’s World Cup trophy at the Rose Bowl in front of 40 million TV viewers that I remember thinking how rare it was to see women play sports on TV. Despite the fact that I knew girls and women could be athletic (I was a prime example of that), I was used to seeing only men on TV, no matter the sport. I was too young at the time to realize the real divide between men’s and women’s sports. Nor did I ever consider that one day, I would be raising my hand alongside my teammates asking our employer to pay us the same as our male counterparts that have the exact same job that we have.