Megan Rapinoe will join OUAB for a moderated conversation at the Ohio Union Nov. 17. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

The Ohio Union Activities Board is bringing one of the world’s most well-known athletes to campus this weekend.

Megan Rapinoe is coming to Ohio State for OUABreaking the Glass Ceiling, a 45-minute, moderated conversation to discuss her prolific soccer career and activism for women and the LGBTQ community Sunday at the Ohio Union. 

Rapinoe has gained national recognition for her goals both on and off the pitch in the past decade, becoming a two-time World Cup champion and one of the most well-known social activists in the United States. Rapinoe has co-captained the women’s national soccer team since 2018, leading them to victory at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where she was awarded the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.

The purpose of the event is to make students more aware of Rapinoe’s activism and empower the audience to apply her lessons to their own lives, Samina Hejeebu, a third-year in finance and OUAB’s director of lectures, said. 

“The significance [of the event] is that she’s an icon right now, and I think a lot of students look up to her as a role model,” Hejeebu said. “She’s such an inspiring individual that I think she could be able to inspire a lot of students on campus to make more changes and to follow in her footsteps.” 

Rapinoe has been vocal on LGBTQ rights in the U.S., as well as kneeling during the national anthem in solidarity with former NFL player Colin Kaepernick prior to several matches in 2016. In March, Rapinoe was among 28 members of the U.S. Women’s National Team to file a lawsuit against U.S. Soccer because of the pay gap between male and female players. 

Kimberly Doran, director of instructional support services and head of Ohio State’s Women Empowering Women program, said Rapinoe is one of the top female role models in the U.S. today because of her approach to leadership. 

The empowerment program is a community that allows female staff members to support one another and promote opportunities for growth in mentoring, leadership, collaboration, professional development and fellowship, according to its website. 

“I think what she’s doing is making sure that women are being treated equally everywhere and respectfully in the workplace,” Doran said. “The way that she’s approached it is she’s once again being authentically who she is while allowing her teammates to do the exact same thing.” 

Izzy Rodriguez, a junior defender on the Ohio State women’s soccer team, said Rapinoe has handled the pressure of representing her country “really well” and empowered young women to embrace who they are.

“She’s made some big changes; she’s really vocalized some of the problems that she thinks are facing the women’s soccer game right now,” Rodriguez said. “She’s brought them up for discussion, which I think is one of the biggest steps in making those changes.” 

OUABreaking the Glass Ceiling begins at 7 p.m. Sunday in the Ohio Union Archie Griffin Grand Ballroom. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are currently sold out, but there will be a standby line at the event, according to OUAB’s Twitter page.