Whitmer invites women’s soccer to Michigan to talk ‘pay equity over cup of tea’
Lansing — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson are inviting the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team to Michigan to celebrate their World Cup win and meet with the state’s new task force on women in sports.
And maybe even “talk about pay equity over a cup of tea,” Whitmer said Tuesday in a social media video, mimicking a tea-sipping gesture Alex Morgan made on the pitch after scoring a goal against England in the World Cup semifinals.
“Hope you can join us in Michigan,” the governor said in the online invitation. "We’d love to have you. Congrats again.”
Whitmer issued an executive order in June creating a new Task Force on Women in Sports within the Department of State and chaired by Benson, who previously served as president of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality.
In her order, Whitmer noted that even with the enactment of Title IX nearly 50 years ago, girls and women continue to face “severely limited” opportunities in sports at a “pivotal moment” for gender equality in Michigan.
“When women succeed as professional athletes, they meet a glass ceiling and a substantial pay gap — barriers that extend to leadership positions with professional leagues and teams, as well as in sports agencies, clothing companies and marketing firms,” the order said.
Sunday’s win by the U.S. women’s soccer team helped thrust that pay gap debate back into the national spotlight. Star forward Megan Rapinoe wasted little time calling for equal pay, echoing arguments the team made in a federal lawsuit filed in March.
While analysts have debated overall earnings potential, women players will earn a roughly $250,000 bonus for winning the World Cup. Players on the U.S. men’s team would have reportedly earned more than $1.1 million had they won instead of bowing out in a regional final.