Hope Talks Women’s Rights in MAKERS Interview

Hope Solo is always searching for opportunities to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women, and she joined MAKERS at The Nantucket Project in Massachusetts to do just that last week.

MAKERS’ mission is to “highlight the stories of groundbreaking women today to create leaders tomorrow.” Hope has been working hard to inspire girls and young women for years with her play on the pitch as well as with her voice off of it, something she spoke about at TNP.

“I’m trying to show young girls that it’s OK to be yourself,” Hope said. “We don’t have to be soft-spoken. We can be opinionated, we can be different, and it’s OK to fight for what’s right… I have dads and moms alike tell me, ‘You are such a role model for my young girl because you want to be authentic, you want to stand up for things, you’re not giving the PC answers, you’re not living up to the way others want you to live up to.’”

She sat down with MAKERS’ Senior Producer Nancy Armstrong, who shared that her daughter, named Hope, is also a goalkeeper. As Armstrong said, her daughter is just one of many girls and young women whose lives Hope touched during throughout her soccer career.

No. 1 has been an active voice for women’s rights and gender equality, making her an ideal choice for MAKERS, which has told the stories of more than 300 women since its inception in 2012.

Under an outdoor tent in front of an intimate Nantucket crowd, Hope detailed the story of how she became an activist for change. Earlier this year, she was one of five members of the United States women’s national team to file a wage discrimination claim against the national Federation. Co-captains Carli Lloyd and Becky Sauerbrunn, forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Megan Rapinoe also joined in the complaint.

“When I was a young girl, it was my dream to be the best goalkeeper in the world,” said the two-time Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion. “It was my dream to play in the Olympics and the World Cup. When I first made it onto the team, I was grateful to have the opportunity to play the game that I love. That was the mindset of so many women athletes. You have this opportunity to play soccer and make a living, so shut your mouth, be grateful and just continue on down the road. As I got older, you got to see that things weren’t quite right — the hotels we were staying at, flying economy class, whereas the men’s team flies business class and priority class, and you start to see the inequities.”

Hope captivated audiences with her transparency on issues regarding equality, equal pay and double standards. The honesty that she was appraised for at The Nantucket Project is the same candidness that has received so much criticism.

“When the media puts me down by calling me ‘outspoken,’ I embrace the word ‘outspoken,’” Hope said. “Quiet people are not going to make change in this world. You have to speak up.”

Upon the conclusion of the session, Hope was honored with a standing ovation.

“(Fighting for equality) has been my passion,” Hope said. “It’s been a fight I’ve been very involved in for over a decade. Just because I got fired, doesn’t mean I’m going to stay quiet. I’m still in this fight.”