This month, Star Tribune reporters caught up with some of Minnesota's most prominent women's sports figures, listening to their thoughts on the pay equity movement and the strides made with this summer's U.S. women's soccer team's World Cup triumph. The interviews produced a story published Sunday, and here's a sampling of those voices:
Gold medal winner in cross-country skiing at the 2018 Olympics and 2017 world championships
"Honestly, [U.S. Soccer's pay equity gap] is incredibly disappointing. And the more we keep pointing it out, hopefully U.S. Soccer will be forced to actually pay them equally for the equal work they're doing. … I'm so ashamed of USA Hockey that it took the women threatening to not play for them to be paid the same as their counterparts. It should be based on the work you do. It should be results-driven, not gender-driven."
Two-time NCAA hockey champion with the Gophers, three-time Olympic medal winner
"That's what my generation heard: 'Be grateful. You're getting to see the world.' We are grateful, no doubt. But there comes a time where it's head cocked to the side going, wait a minute here. This is not right. We're at the Olympics, they're [the men] at the Olympics. We're supposed to be equals, yet I've seen your family get more tickets than my family. I'm seeing you guys have a dinner, and we have to eat in the Olympic Village. … We're going for the same gold medal. The same amount of fans are setting foot in Vancouver's arena for the gold-medal game."
Gophers softball team's all-time strikeout leader, now with Team Canada
"If I was a guy, I would be a millionaire right now. I would be in the pro [baseball] leagues and making millions of dollars. But you know what, I'm not. … The fans are there. The support is there. It's just finding a way to make it equitable. … I wish that we could be at a better place right now. We're not, but I hope myself and other athletes right now can be trailblazers for our leagues to be supportive of us and our financial needs."
Two-time NCAA hockey champion with the Gophers, Olympic gold medal winner
"As someone who just finished up a business major, I see both sides. I see where you need to see the growth, you need to see the projections of where you think the money you're investing is going to go. … And then from a players' perspective, it's kind of that balance of saying this is what we think we're worth and what we think we deserve."
Four-time WNBA champion coach for the Lynx
"In order for us, as female athletes, to take a leap in terms of our pay, we need greater involvement, bigger TV deals. We need people to be leaders just like [Indiana senator] Birch Bayh was with Title IX. That doesn't mean there will be instant profit, but that wasn't true for the men, either. So we have to make sure we're being treated the same."
Three-time All-American for Gophers, four-time WNBA champion with Lynx, two-time Olympic gold medalist
"If you look at what you bring in with sponsorships, TV ratings, ticket sales? If it gets close to equal, the pay should be the same. In some programs, like [the University of] Connecticut, I'd guess the pay is pretty equal. It's the bottom line for me."
Gophers women's basketball team's all-time scoring leader, now with the WNBA's Connecticut Sun
"We all deserve [pay equity]. We put in the time. We put in the work. Just because we're women, that doesn't make it different. That's something we've been talking about in our league this year because it's ridiculous. We're not talking about making the same as the men. We're not asking for a billion dollars, but equal [pay] in the hours we're putting in."