The Burlington High School girls soccer team is advocating for equal pay for women with special-made jerseys. The team is hoping people will buy and wear them when Burlington takes on rival South Burlington this Friday night.
Jessica Nordhaus is with the group Change the Story VT, an organization that works with a trio of other nonprofits to foster economic equality and security for women in Vermont. Her daughter, Lydia, plays for the Burlington High School team, and Nordhaus said the girls' efforts were inspired by the U.S. women's national soccer team's call for equal pay with the men.
Listen to Morning Edition host Mitch Wertlieb’s interview with Jessica Nordhaus above.
“They landed on this idea, that it would be great to have a game under the lights where they invited the Greater Burlington Girls Soccer League to attend, and they would have the whole stands filled with folks in white jerseys that say #EqualPay on the front,” Nordhaus said.
While the jerseys are being sold for $25, Nordhaus said men are invited to pay an extra $4.80 for the shirts, as a symbolic gesture toward evening out the wage gap.
Change The Story VT used American Community Survey data between 2009 and 2013 to calculate a 16 cent wage gap in Vermont. The American Association of University Women, a national nonprofit, has used 2018 American Community Survey data to place Vermont’s wage gap at 15 cents.
The proceeds from the jerseys will go to the Greater Burlington Girls Soccer League according to Nordhaus.
“A lot of these girls played for GBGSL growing up, and they’re really interested in connecting back with that league and providing some scholarships to help girls who might otherwise not be able to access that kind of activity,” she said.
In the meantime, Nordhaus said the response to the #EqualPay shirts and the Burlington High School girls soccer team’s efforts has been “tremendous.”
“We have over 425 orders for shirts right now,” she said. “The Burlington varsity boys team last Friday wore them to warm up and surprised us. We didn’t know this, but they were wearing them underneath their game jerseys, so after they scored a goal, they came running over and lifted up their game jerseys and their equal pay shirts were underneath, which was pretty cool.”
Another thing that would be pretty cool? If U.S. women's national soccer team players took notice of the #EqualPay shirts.
“I think that the girl’s soccer team has been tagging them,” Nordhaus said. “Hopefully.”