Senate Passes Equal Pay Resolution for U.S. Women's Team Soccer Stars

The U.S. Women's soccer team just made another major stride in their contentious battle over equal pay. Last week, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a non-binding resolution calling on the U.S. Soccer Federation to "immediately end gender pay inequity and to treat all athletes with the respect and dignity those athletes deserve."

The resolution was introduced to the Senate earlier this month. In a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Patty Murray explained that the team's fight is a symbol of a much larger struggle for all women in equal rights.

"This isn't just about the money. It’s also about the message it sends to women and girls across our country and the world," she said adding, "The pay gap between the men and women’s national soccer teams is emblematic of what is happening all across our country."

Members of the U.S. Women's soccer team have been arguing that they have been paid 25 percent less than the men's team. In April, they suggested they may boycott the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio on account of wage discrimination and overall gender inequality.

The team's co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn claimed that a strike or even a boycott was still a possibility in an interview with ESPNW's Julie Foudy.

"We are reserving every right to do so and we're leaving every avenue open. If nothing has changed and we don’t feel any progress has been made, then it's a conversation that we're gonna have," she said.

The team's star forward and Olympic gold medalist Alex Morgan told NBC's Matt Lauer that they were trying to avoid a boycott with their complaint and wage-discrimination lawsuit filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in March.

News of a possible Rio Olympics boycott comes after several members of the team filed a complaint and made public statements calling for equal pay for equal play. While the U.S. women's soccer team is arguably the most successful in America's soccer history, the discrepancy between male and female paychecks remains vast.

Reports reveal that the top five players on the U.S. men's soccer team make an average of $406,000 each year from typical friendly matches while the top five women are guaranteed $72,000 each year.

However the complaint does not only address issues of equal pay. Sauerbrunn explained matters of gender inequality exist beyond the paycheck to even the artificial turf the team plays on. 

In a recent New York Times op-ed, two-time Olympic gold medalist Carli Lloyd also says the team was considering a strike long ago over the same issues.

"Simply put, we're sick of being treated like second-class citizens. It wears on you after a while. And we are done with it," she wrote.

Watch Abby Wambach's exclusive MAKERS story in the video above.

NEXT: Carli Lloyd: Suing US Soccer Is About "Equal Pay for Equal Play" »

Related Stories:
Billie Jean King Delivers Knockout Speech at FIFA Women's Conference
Get to Know Hope Solo

Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images