On Wednesday, September 20, Argentine goalkeeper Elisabeth Minnig posted a message on Twitter announcing that the women’s national team would go on strike. Poor travel and training conditions, along with pay, were issues brought up in the statement.
According to a report from the Equalizer, players are paid roughly $8.50, or 150 pesos, per training session and were forced to sleep on a bus for a recent friendly, the team’s first in over two years.
After last weekend’s match vs. the Boston Breakers, I spoke with Argentine and Washington Spirit forward Estefania Banini about the decision to go on strike.
Follow Your Spirit: Can you talk about the team’s decision to go on strike?
Estefania Banini: The reality is the girls expressed in a letter that they are asking for some basic conditions. I think that [AFA] has many resources to start supporting the women’s team. I think that now is the time that our voices should be heard so that the women’s team in Argentina grows to the level that we need to be. It is good that we are bringing these things to light because many things were talked about, even when I was not playing games with them, but apparently, the conditions were very bad so it’s good that they are pressing on.
FYS: It’s been almost two years since a game, why is this happening now?
EB: Because I believe that we are tired of waiting. They said they were going to change things and they haven’t really changed. I think that when they constantly promise and then don’t comply then I think that’s the moment where we must do these things in order to make them listen and pay Attention. And what the team is doing [striking] takes valor.
FYS: What does the team look for to gain with the strike?
EB: The truth is basic conditions. We are not asking for them to pay us the same as the men. We are asking for basic rights. Travel and stay in a hotel, good food, to be able to rest well. The girls there do not have a professional league. When they go to the national team, they have to miss work or their studies, and that generates costs. What we are asking for is a compensation, something economical, so that it covers costs when they come to train. So just the basics.
FYS: What impact does the team hope to have on the federation?
EB: Hopefully that we have an impact and that it works out. We really hope what happened is a good starting point for us to grow. But it depends on the federation and the people in charge of making the decisions.
Translation assisted by Sandra Herrera.