Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has extended an invite to the U.S. national women’s soccer team to celebrate its recent World Cup victory and to discuss ways Michigan can work to achieve gender equality in sports.
“We’re hoping you might want to come to Michigan,” the governor said in video featured in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon.
“We will celebrate your victory, talk about women in sports and even talk about equity over a cup of tea,” she continued, while also making a tea-sipping gesture with her hands in a nod to the celebratory move U.S. soccer star Alex Morgan recently made after scoring in the World Cup semifinal against England.
Secretary @JocelynBenson and I are inviting @USWNT to Michigan to celebrate their World Cup victory and discuss expanding opportunities for women in sports in Michigan and across the country. pic.twitter.com/llLWGqnqdm
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) July 9, 2019
Whitmer said in the tweet that she and Jocelyn Benson, the secretary of State of Michigan, were both behind the invitation, and that they hope to be able discuss how to expand “opportunities for women in sports in Michigan and across the country” with the soccer team as they continue their legal efforts for pay equity in the league.
The invitation comes after 50 members of Congress recently wrote a letter to U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro earlier this month to express disapproval with what they called “the inequities in pay, publicity, and investment” the women’s team has endured.
The congressional members pointed out in the letter how the “women’s income is just 38 percent of men’s income” and went on to note that the disparity in pay was “particularly questionable” given the fact that the women’s games have “generated more total revenue than U.S. Men’s games over the last three years.”
“In fact, from 2016 to 2018,” they added, “women’s games generated approximately $50.8 million in revenue compared with $49.9 million for the men’s team.”