Play like a girl

The United States won the Women’s World Cup and many are predicting the game of soccer in this country will get a boost as well. But there was also one other rather large group of victors in the final result from Sunday night’s game: girls.

The US National Team, whose praises were sung by everyone from President Obama to Tim Tebow, was the first one made up entirely of players who grew up with Title IX, the 43-year-old law that mandates equal access regardless of gender in any institution that receives federal funds. It’s fitting that the team, whose oldest member, Christie Rampone, was born in the summer of 1975 when the equity regulations were first issued amid an outcry of opposition in Congress and on campuses, won during the 40th anniversary of the law’s implementation.

Cities around the country, including here in Boston, held viewing parties during the tournament that drew large throngs of fans. The finale on City Hall Plaza drew more than 500 people, mostly young girls, to watch their athletic idols dispatch Japan with an early onslaught.

“It’s amazing that the city puts this event on,” Julie King, the captain of the professional Boston Breakers team, told the Boston Globe. “It means a lot for this many people to show up; it shows how far [women’s soccer] has come. With every World Cup, and with all of this success, it’s only going to make the game more popular.”

That FOX chose to show the game during primetime with a two-hour pregame on its regular broadcast network rather than its sports network, gives rise to the hope that women’s soccer, and women’s sports in general, are beginning to see a level playing field. But as exhilarating as the victory was, the obstacles that women still face in sports show there’s still goals to be scored.

In 2010, CommonWealth examined spending by the state’s public colleges and universities and found that the schools spent 62 percent of their athletic budgets on men’s sports and just 38 percent on women’s. Coaches in men’s sports were paid nearly a third more on average than their female counterparts. At the state’s flagship university, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, nearly $30,000 was spent on average per male athlete while just over $16,000 was spent on each female athlete, despite women outnumbering men in overall enrollment at the school.

Little progress has been made in the five years since. At the state’s 21 public colleges and universities, expenditures for men’s sports in 2013, the most recent year available, were nearly $26 million while women’s athletics received just under $16 million. In addition, men receive 57 percent of athletic financial aid while women receive 43 percent, despite women making up 54 percent of the enrollment.

The World Cup also exposed the continuing pay gap women face. The total payout for the women’s teams was $15 million, compared to the men’s prize pool of $576 million. The US national team, which won for a record third time, splits $2 million for bringing home the trophy while Germany, which won the men’s World Cup last year, was paid $35 million. Even the US men’s team, which has never won the World Cup and got knocked out in the Round of 16 last year, received $9 million for making it that far.

There’s hope that the spotlight on Carli Lloyd, Abby Wambach, Megan Rapinoe, et al, will bring attention to the benefits of a level playing field for women’s athletics. But until then, women who choose to leave it all on the field like their male counterparts will have to settle for an “Atta girl” until they are recognized for their efforts in the same way the boys are.



Sen. Marc Pacheco is a busy man these days defending the law that regulates how the state can privatize services. Pacheco, who sponsored the law and whose name has become synonymous with it, takes on Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Eileen McAnneny in a Salem News op-ed. Pacheco earlier called CommonWealth on a Download characterization of his law, which House budget negotiators want to suspend and Senate negotiators want to preserve.

The Lowell Sun, in an editorial, blames the Senate for the budget impasse on Beacon Hill, saying the push for a freeze in the state income tax rate is what’s causing delays.

Gov. Charlie Baker gives businesses a bit of tax relief, trimming the state assessment on workers’ compensation insurance. (Associated Press)

Baker softens his stance on the Senate’s proposed State House renovation plans. (Boston Herald)


Fall River‘s legal counsel says a vote by the City Council on a controversial trash pickup fee was legal even though Mayor Sam Sutter filed it more than a month after the May 1 deadline set to propose new fees in city bylaws. (Herald News)

Holyoke goes into fiscal 2016 with a deficit that it is furiously trying to trim. (The Republican)

East Boston is struggling with gentrification that is forcing many immigrants out. (WBUR) Miami has dealt with gentrification by building higher. (Governing)


A Boston Herald investigation finds the members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission regularly meet privately; the commission says the meetings are allowed under the state’s Open Meeting Law.


A new survey indicates 57 percent of Americans think of the Confederate flag as a symbol of southern pride, not racism. (Governing) The South Carolina legislature begins debate on the Confederate flag this week. (Associated Press)

French economist Thomas Piketty calls Germany a hypocrite for pushing Greece to repay its debts, saying the country has never repaid its own debts. (Medium)

Just in case anyone thought this “kumbaya” moment of bipartisan governance is the new normal, U.S. News & World Report lays out five impending crises that Congress still faces between now and the end of the year.


As candidates find loopholes to push the limits of federal regulations, the IRS is expected to wait until after the 2016 election to tackle the issue of nonprofits being used to raise and spend hundreds of millions of dollars for support of presidential campaigns. (New York Times)


Worcester is adding several small hotels downtown, with officials hoping the new rooms will attract more conventions to the city. (Telegram & Gazette)

Yotel, a micro hotel, gets the green light in Boston’s Seaport area. (Boston Globe)


Boston hasn’t reached the charter cap after all; state officials say the city can add 668 charter school seats. (Boston Globe)

Busing didn’t eliminate segregation in Boston’s schools, it just morphed into something more difficult to tackle. (Boston Globe)

The federal government has issued new regulations requiring for-profit trade schools to help graduates find employment to pay off their student loans or risk losing accreditation for financial aid. (Associated Press)

The UMass Alumni Club in downtown Boston is a money-loser. (Boston Globe)

The state will no longer use the number of children receiving free and reduced-price lunches to determine low-income student population in school districts, instead determining the number based on families enrolled in state and federal assistance programs. (Herald News)

The Framingham School Committee is advocating for a statewide 8:30 am start time for high schools and the MetroWest Daily News is backing them up.


Partners HealthCare, stymied locally, seeks to grow globally. (Boston Globe) The company’s new CEO said as much back in February. (WBUR)

Massachusetts has 1,400 nail salons and only 4 people to oversee them. (MetroWest Daily News)

Colorado officials are seeing stunning results of a 40 percent reduction in teen pregnancy and 42 percent drop in abortions stemming from a birth control program launched in 2009 that gives out IUD’s and implantable devices to teenaged girls and poor women. (New York Times)


The MBTA is saying goodbye to the so-called honor box system at parking lots. (Associated Press)


Gov. Charlie Baker seeks to curb speculators profiting from the state’s solar power subsidy program. (CommonWealth)

Braintree and Randolph officials are opposing an application by Holbrook to the state for a permit to build a transfer station the other towns say will create traffic problems. (Patriot Ledger)

The US has picked up some international respect on climate change thanks to federal and state regulatory moves. (Christian Science Monitor)


Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz is coming under firefor witness deals gone awry. (Boston Globe)

A foundation set up to support Gloucester‘s new policing program on opioids raises $50,000 in three weeks. (Gloucester Times)


The Denver Post starts shrinking. (


Burt Shavitz of Burt’s Bees fame dies. (Time)