December 13, 2017 was a good day for Norway. Apart from a very important conversation that started in the Parliament regarding the decriminalisation of drugs, a step forward was made for gender equality as well. At the Norwegian Embassy in London, Stefan Johansen and Maren Mjelde, Norway’s men’s and women’s National Football Team Captains, signed an agreement that will bridge the pay-gap between the two teams.
Here’s how they’re going about it: the male players agreed to contribute 550,000 Norwegian kroner of their collective pay (money they currently receive for commercial activities) to the women’s team, basically taking a pay-cut until the end of this year, to balance the scales. From 2018 onward, both male and female teams will be getting six million kroner each. Take that, #gendergap.
Historically, women’s football has been considered “less than.” In Norway, it wasn’t officially recognized until 1976, which seems quite unfair considering women’s football national teams are performing better than their male counterparts in many countries, Norway included, And yet, the financial disparity is so real, it has prompted lengthy legal disputes and protests in countries such as Scotland, Denmark, Nigeria, Ireland, even the USA. Which is why this motion for equal pay coming straight from the Norwegian Football Association, and not as a result of a long, drawn-out fight, is such a positive sign that things are, and should be, changing.
In the FA’s own words, “Isn’t it a cool idea and wouldn’t it be a good signal if we did things equally?” Amen to that, Norway.