© 2022 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
WKAR StayTuned Update

A Woman's Work: The NFL's Cheerleader Problem | Independent Lens

Maria Pinzone standing with poms on hips in cheerleading outit against black background
Yu Gu
/
Independent Lens
Maria Pinzone stands with poms on hips.

Mon. Jan. 4 at 10pm on WKAR-HD 23.1 & STREAMING | Three brave cheerleaders take on the NFL, battling for recognition... and a raise.NFL cheerleaders revolve their lives around their sport, but most earn less than minimum wage. Three of them decide they deserve more. In high-stakes lawsuits, these courageous women take a stand against the massive male-dominated sports league.

A Woman’s Work: The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem sheds light on the continued fight to end the gender pay gap prevalent throughout the National Football League. For over 50 years, the NFL has employed cheerleaders: women who are lifelong athletes expected to both maintain a peak physical condition and fulfill extreme beauty standards. Many of these athletes have been historically underpaid, with some earning as little as $5 an hour, while others are never paid a salary at all. A Woman's Work chronicles the journeys of cheerleaders from the Oakland Raiders and the Buffalo Bills, who each put their careers on the line to take legal action and fight for fair pay.

Through the stories of two women in particular—Lacy, a former cheerleader for the Oakland Raiders and mother of three, and Maria, a former Buffalo Bills cheerleader, who both take up the grueling fight for fair pay against the NFL—the film paints a vivid picture of gender inequality at the heart of America’s favorite pastime. A Woman’s Work features interviews with former cheerleaders—some who have filed lawsuits against and others who stand staunchly in support of the NFL—their family members and labor lawyers.

Watch each episode at video.wkar.org during or after the premiere date.

News from WKAR will never be behind a paywall. Ever. We need your help to keep our coverage free for everyone. Please consider supporting the news you rely on with a donation today. You can support our journalism for as little as $5. Every contribution, no matter the size, propels our vital coverage. Thank you.