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Mover Over Messi, Argentina Announces Women’s Soccer Will Now Be Professionalized

In a country that is home to Lionel Messi and some of the best soccer players in the world, Argentinian women will now have a chance at an equal level playing field. Argentina’s football association (AFA) just announced that the national women’s league will now be granted professional status. The news is a breakthrough moment for not only Argentinian soccer but competitive women’s sports as a whole.

As well as having their game professionalized they will be paid like it too.

AFA President Claudio Tapia said at a press conference that each of the 16 clubs of the women’s top division must now have at least eight professional contracts with female soccer players. Those contracts must also match those of the professional men’s league. To this point, The women’s game has been largely played by amateur athletes who have gotten little money for their work compared to their male counterparts.

“When we assumed responsibility, we said we were going to oversee inclusive soccer that is gender equal, and we are demonstrating that,” Tapia told the AP.

Tapia says that the association will help by contributing 120,000 pesos (which is about $3,000) per month to each of the women’s club to finance the contracts. The female players will now be paid a monthly minimum salary of about 15,000 pesos ( roughly $365), which is equal to that made by male players in the fourth division of Argentine soccer.

In terms of success, the country team has made three World Cup appearances but has yet to make it to out of the group stage.

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The professionalization of women’s soccer in Argentina is also a good sign in terms of further helping develop future stars. The country’s women national team has had relativity low success in international soccer. In three World Cup appearances, the national team has yet to make it out of the group stage.

“This association has one promise, to improve football,” Tapia told reporters at the press conference. “We are going to keep working to develop women’s football in all provinces.”

In addition to the new league, women players will be receiving a brand new high performance center in Buenos Aires. Tapia says the association would provide pitches for teams that do not have their own facilities. The new soccer league is set to begin this June but the number of teams in the league have yet to be announced by the AFA.

The move follows a series of legal actions taken by women soccer players vying for equality on and off the field.

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The movement towards professionalization got steam when Macarena Sanchez, one of the best and most well-known women players in the country, was dismissed by the UAI Urquiza team. Shortly after, Sanchez took legal action against the club seeking compensation and professional status.

“It’s very frustrating,” Sánchez told the Guardian. “They have better salaries, better conditions and can live by being footballers. We, unfortunately, can’t. We have better results, more championships and we have even played international tournaments but we are seen as inferior just for being women.”

This movement has followed to the U.S. women’s national soccer team who also sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for “institutionalized gender discrimination. The team says they are receiving unequal pay compared with their counterparts on the men’s national team.

In Colombia, two players, Isabella Echeverri and Melissa Ortiz, who play for the women’s national team spoke out on social media about what they feel is “sexual discrimination.” They say they are playing on substandard conditions and receive discriminatory treatment by their soccer federation.

“We have decided to be honest about the reality of soccer in our country with a series of videos that we hope boost awareness,” they said on social meida. “We love our country and we want things to change for the better for female players.”

This movement has led to what many women soccer players feel is just the start of more equal and fair opportunities in the sport.

The hope is the new league will expose players to new fans and generate sponsorships for future revenue. Women’s soccer in Argentina has gotten some exposure this year, with the Boca Juniors’ female team playing at the Bombonera stadium for the first time this month. The match was also shown on television, becoming the first female football match to be shown live in the country.

Tapia says this is hopefully just the start for professional women’s’ soccer recognition in Argentina. But the success will be weighed on how many fans they get in the seats and television rights they receive for live games.

The women’s game in soccer has already made great strides the last few years. Last year, FIFA ordered all member nations to have female football plans in place by 2022 and to double the number of female players to 60 million by 2026.

READ: Chicharito Announced In A Gender Reveal Party That He Is Having A Chicharito Of His Own

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Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

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Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

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Currently, Brazil is one of the world’s epicenters of the coronavirus. In March 2021, Brazil saw 66,573 COVID-19-related deaths. That means 1 in every 3 COVID-related deaths worldwide are occuring in Brazil.

And it doesn’t appear that the numbers will be slowing down anytime soon. While the United States is making strides in their COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Brazil is lagging far behind. And things are about to get a lot more complicated.

On Tuesday, Brazil passed a bill that would allow corporations to buy up as many vaccines as they can get their hands on, and privately distribute them to their employees first.

Elected officials in Brazil are arguing that the country has become so desperate to vaccinate its citizens, that it doesn’t matter who gets the vaccines first at this point.

The country, once renowned for having one of the most robust and efficient public vaccine-distribution programs in the world, has failed to make strides towards getting their citizens vaccinated.

“We are at war,” said the leader of the chamber, Arthur Lira. “And in war, anything goes to save lives.” We don’t know about you, but usually when it comes to war, we’ve heard that soldiers prioritize the health and safety of young, the weak, and the elderly before their own? We digress…

Brazil’s plan to privatize the vaccine rollout has brought up moral and ethical questions.

From the beginning, the World Health Organization has asked countries to first prioritize essential health workers and then high-risk populations when distributing the vaccine.

Anything other than that would promote a pay-to-play schemes in which the rich could protect their lives before poor people could. And poor people are more likely to die from COVID-19 in the first place.

As Alison Buttenheim, behavioral scientist and expert on the equitable allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine said, vaccine distribution should not “exacerbate disparities and inequities in health care,” but instead address them. Brazil’s vaccine rollout plan would fail to do any of the above.

If countries begin to allow the rich to prioritize their own interests during the vaccine rollout, the consequences could be disastrous.

In a time when the world is stoked by fear and uncertainty, the worst thing that can happen is for rich companies to exacerbate inequalities by effectively choosing who lives or dies.

As the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization said at the beginning of the global vaccine rollout: “any distribution of vaccines should advance human well-being and honor global equity, national equity, reciprocity, and legitimacy.”

Poor Brazilians should not be left to fend for themselves against COVID-19 simply because they are poor.

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Brazil is Fining Apple $2 Million For Selling the iPhone 12 Without A Charger, And We’re Not Mad About It

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Brazil is Fining Apple $2 Million For Selling the iPhone 12 Without A Charger, And We’re Not Mad About It

Photo via Getty Images

It seems like every new product rollout, Apple gets stingier and stingier with what they include with each purchase. And while Brazil has recently been in the headlines for controversial news, this time, they have the public opinion on their side. Standing up for consumers, Brazil is fining Apple for alleged “false advertising”.

On Friday, a consumer watchdog agency announced that Brazil is fining Apple for $2 million. The reason? Not including a charger with the iPhone 12.

According to Procon, the São Paulo-based consumer protection agency, Apple’s decision not to include a charger with the iPhone 12 amounts to “false advertising”. Procon also accused Apple of selling “defective products”, creating unfair contracts for consumers, and failing to repair products that are still under warranty.

Per Brazilian media, Procon contacted Apple last year to ask them why they were now excluding chargers and earbuds. However, the company “never offered a convincing explanation” to the Brazilian agency.

“Apple needs to understand that in Brazil there are solid laws and institutions for consumer protection,” said Procon executive Fernando Capez, explaining why Brazil is fining Apple. “It needs to respect these laws and these institutions.” 

In October of 2020, Apple announced that it would no longer include chargers or earbuds in their iPhone boxes. The company cited “environmental concerns”.

But savvy consumers couldn’t help but be skeptical of Apple’s explanation. Some people thought that Apple’s “environmental decision” was simply a pretense. In reality, they thought it might be a gimmick to take more money from customers under the pretense of environmentalism.

For one, we fail to see how including chargers and earbuds in an iPhone package would help the environment. Wouldn’t individual boxes for each product simply contribute to more waste? We digress….

In general, consumers across the globe can’t help but…agree with Procon.

Anyone who is an Apple devotee (read: prisoner) knows that you can end up feeling trapped as a customer. You become roped into an endless cycle of buying products that seem to be diminishing in quality every year. Not only that, but every year, the iPhone becomes more expensive while customers get less bang for their buck.

But at some point, you feel like you have to buy Apple products. Because of how Apple designs their products, all of the technology you own (laptops, tablets, chargers, etc.) only works with Apple products.

Starting to buy a different brand would be akin to throwing away hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars you’ve already invested in Apple tech. To be an Apple customer is to be stuck in a vicious cycle.

Hopefully, other governments will follow suit. After all, big tech has been taking advantage of consumers for too long.

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