The company, a sponsor of U.S. Soccer, encouraged the USSF to be "on the right side of history"
Secret deodorant, an official sponsor of U.S. Soccer, has thrown its support behind the women’s national team, pledging a half-million dollar donation to the athletes as they continue to fight for equal pay.
Secret, which is owned by parent company Procter & Gamble, announced the $529,000 donation by taking out a full-page ad in Sunday’s New York Times that declared it was “standing up for what’s right.”
The company revealed that the sum is symbolic, as it represents $23,000 for each of the 23 players on the USWNT roster, who are fresh off of a World Cup victory.
“As a partner, we know the U.S. Soccer Federation is an organization of considerable strength,” the ad reads. “It has the strength to be on the right side of history.”
The ad continues with a call to action for the USSF to “be a beacon of strength and end gender pay inequality once and for all.”
The donation was met with praise from members of the USWNT, like forward Alex Morgan.
“A lot of brands talk but Secret walks the walk,” Morgan wrote on Twitter. “Thank you for this, and for being such a great partner.”
Midfielder Allie Long also appreciated the gift, writing that she’d “never wear another deodorant as long as I live.”
“Powerful, Bold, Brave. It’s companies like @SecretDeodorant and @LUNAbar who have not only spoken about equality but have given a solution towards the issue,” she wrote. “So a massive THANK YOU, for not just saying you believe in equality but showing that you do. 🇺🇸❤️”
LUNA Bar in April promised a $31,250 bonus to each player who made the World Cup roster to make up the difference between the women’s and men’s’ World Cup roster bonus.
Though the USWNT has been living large since beating the Netherlands to win the World Cup on July 7, the fight for equal pay has continued to loom over their celebrations.
The victory came four months after 28 players on the team filed a lawsuit against the USSF accusing the organization of workplace discrimination based on gender.
The Washington Post reported that the women claimed they were paid less than the men’s national team, and also received less support from the USSF despite the fact that they played consistently well.
The suit also argued that “during the period relevant to this case, the WNT earned more in profit and/or revenue than the MNT.”
The USSF responded with a court filing in May that denied the women’s claims, saying that pay is “based on differences in aggregate revenue generated by the different teams and/or any other factor other than sex.”
According to the Post, women’s games pulled in about $900,000 more in revenue than men’s games from 2016-18, and $1.9 million in the year after the women won the World Cup in 2015.
The athletes have used their time in the international spotlight since winning the World Cup to shed light on the issue, with co-captain Megan Rapinoe leading the charge.
“I think the conversation needs to move from, you know, are we worth it, or should we have equal pay, to what can we do now?” she said last week on Good Morning America. “How can FIFA support the federations, how can federations support their players better, how can the leagues support their players better?”
The star athlete also offered some advice for fans looking to do their part, as she encouraged viewers to watch games of both the national team and their local club teams.
“I think there’s a part in this for everybody to do, and I think we’ve really left the old conversation behind us and now it’s time for that action,” she said.