With a global spotlight now on the U.S. soccer team at the Women's World Cup, the House Democratic Women's Caucus is urging the sport's governing body to "correct course and close" an "indefensible" wage gap between male and female players.
The Democratic Women's Caucus penned an open letter to U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro on Wednesday, and firmly took sides on the lawsuit that female players have filed over the pay gap.
The letter noted the lawsuit's claims that female players have been receiving smaller bonuses than the U.S. men's team, which has not won any World Cups compared to the three championships by the women. The women's team is also now one victory away from its fourth World Cup.
“The inequities that these women champions have faced as members of the USWNT are indefensible,” the members wrote.
“The U.S. Soccer Federation should work to correct course and close the wage gap so that the only thing women athletes are fighting for is the world title or a gold medal. Instead, the message sent to women and girls is that their skills and accomplishments are of lesser value,” the caucus wrote.
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The letter was signed by 52 members of the House, including Democratic Women's Caucus co-chairs Jackie Speier of California, Lois Frankel of Florida and Brenda Lawrence of Michigan.
A representative for the federation could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.
The U.S. women's soccer team filed its federal lawsuit before the World Cup, accusing the federation of engaging in “institutionalized gender discrimination” reflected in differences in pay, medical care, travel arrangements and overall workload for the men's and women's teams.
The plaintiffs have agreed to mediation.
The American women will play for the World Cup title against the Netherlands. Kickoff on Sunday is set for 5 p.m. local time in Lyon, France, which is 11 a.m. ET.
Bookies immediately installed the U.S. women as heavy favorites.
Caesars Palace placed the Americans as 2-to-9 favorites to hoist the World Cup, and Holland 15-to-4 underdogs.
Meanwhile, Fanduel opened with Americans favored at 1-to-5 and the Orange Army at 19-to-5.
The United States defeated England, 2-1, in a semifinal match Tuesday.