Secret deodorant donates $529G to US women’s soccer team to close gender pay gap

Secret deodorant announced Sunday it’s donating $529,000 to the U.S. women’s soccer team, becoming the first USWNT sponsor to publicly support the four-time Women’s World Cup champions’ fight for equal pay.

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The deodorant brand, owned by Procter & Gamble, said each of the 23 players on the U.S. World Cup roster will receive $23,000. In a full-page ad printed in Sunday edition of the New York Times, the company said the women’s soccer team “just made history. But they have always deserved equal pay.”

“We proudly stand up and give the number 23 a new meaning. We are doing our part to help close the pay gap by giving the Players Association over half a million dollars — $529,000 to be exact — the equivalent of $23,000 for each of the 23 players,” Secret Deodorant wrote in its ad.

“…After all the toasts, cheers, parades and awards subside, the issue remains. Inequality is about more than pay and players; it’s about values,” a portion of the ad’s message read. “Let’s take this moment of celebration to propel women’s sports forward. We urge the U.S. Soccer Federation to be a beacon of strength and end gender pay inequality once and for all, for all players.”

The brand urged others to help close the gender pay gap.

The women’s national team’s fight for equal pay has received widespread support on a national level since its second straight World Cup victory last Sunday over the Netherlands.

Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and other members of the U.S. women’s national team are set to earn roughly $250,000 each for winning the 2019 World Cup, well below the pay the U.S. men’s national team, which has yet to win a World Cup, would receive for a similar run. Team representatives have argued that the disparity amounts to gender discrimination, saying the women's national team generates more revenue for U.S. Soccer than the men's team.

Members of the women’s soccer team have been embroiled in the equal pay dispute for years. In March, 28 players filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer Federation, claiming they were being paid less than the members of the Men’s National Team, the New York Times reported.

“The USSF discriminates against Plaintiffs, and the class that they seek to represent, by paying them less than members of the MNT [Men’s National Team] for substantially equal work and by denying them at least equal playing, training, and travel conditions; equal promotion of their games; equal support and development for their games; and other terms and conditions of employment equal to the MNT,” the suit stated.

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USSF president Carlos Cordeiro also acknowledged the equal pay fight during his speech at the New York City parade celebrating the women’s national soccer team FIFA World Cup win.

“We will continue to invest more in women’s soccer than any country in the world and we will continue to encourage others, including our friends at FIFA, to do the same,” Cordeiro said after the crowd interrupted his speech with boos and chants of “equal pay” and “pay them!”

Megan Rapinoe, center, and Alex Morgan, right, celebrates with U.S. women's soccer teammates at City Hall after a ticker tape parade, Wednesday. (AP)

“We believe that at US Soccer all female athletes deserve fair and equitable pay. And together I believe we can get this done because as this team has taught us, being the greatest isn’t just about how you play on the field, it’s about what you stand for off the field,” he added.

FOX Business' Thomas Barrabi and The Associated Press contributed to this report.