Open Letter: U.S. Women’s Soccer and Equality for Women

Unseen Women On TV
Jul 9 · 3 min read
Roma Torre, Anchor at NY1.

To Mayor Bill de Blasio:

As many people are aware, I am one of five female journalists who recently filed a federal lawsuit detailing gender and age discrimination and equal pay violations by NY1/Charter Communications. I want to extend my most sincere gratitude to everyone who has shown support for our cause, which has included numerous journalists, entertainers and politicians, including Katie Couric, Megyn Kelly, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Maria Shriver, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Councilwoman and Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus Margaret Chin and the entire New York City Women’s Caucus, and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

On Sunday, the U.S. Women’s National Team delivered a memorable World Cup performance for not only the country but for all women. U.S. women’s soccer has not only shown unmatched skill, heart and determination, but they have also stood up to combat discrimination against women and equal pay violations. It is my hope, and the hope of many others, that their accomplishments will result in positive, lasting change for women around the globe.

In 2015, when the U.S. Women’s National Team won the previous World Cup, I was also at NY1 (where I have worked as an anchor for the last 27 years). Following that win, NY1 asked me to host the parade coverage from a news desk set up by City Hall (I had hosted many other sports parades including several New York Yankees World Series wins). However, NY1 was then owned by Time Warner Cable. As our lawsuit describes, the entire environment and culture has changed since Charter Communications took over in 2016. In addition to everything described in our lawsuit, the way NY1 has handled this U.S. women’s soccer win is emblematic of the problem.

In contrast to 2015, this year NY1 has excluded me from live coverage of the celebration. This year, only weeks after we filed our lawsuit, NY1 has informed me that I will not be involved in the live parade coverage despite my request to continue in this role. Why am I now being treated differently? Of course, this is retaliation and a further demonstration of NY1’s complete failure to take women’s issues seriously. NY1/Charter cannot on the one hand celebrate and promote U.S. women’s soccer, but on the other hand treat female employees in a manner that runs completely afoul of what the team and its players stand for and represent.

It has been reported that Megan Rapinoe said the following: “It’s to stop having the conversation about equal pay and are we worth it . . . What are we going to do about it . . . It’s time to sit down with everyone and really get to work.” I could not agree more. When New Yorkers line the streets tomorrow, it is my hope that they not only celebrate U.S. women’s soccer but also, as they watch the blank pieces of ticker tape fall from the sky, think about the millions of faceless women who suffer in silence at the hands of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and unequal pay. We need to do more. It is time to turn the conversation into action. Even though I have lost my role, I do not at all wish to detract from the celebration surrounding the U.S. Women’s National Team’s momentous occasion. Quite to the contrary, I write this letter to congratulate them for their professional success and celebrate them for their willingness to speak up and speak out about the importance of advancing women’s rights.

I would specifically ask that Mayor de Blasio condemn NY1’s actions in the strongest terms and continue to stand with us as we make change.

Sincerely,
Roma Torre
NY1, Anchor
61 years old

Unseen Women On TV

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Female anchors fighting ageism in the newsroom. Led by Roma Torre, Kristen Shaughnessy, Jeanine Ramirez, Vivian Lee & Amanda Farinacci. #BroadcastWomen