Now that the U.S. Women’s National Team is hot shit (as it should be), corporations are hopping on the Equal Pay bandwagon. Case in point: Procter & Gamble has pledged over half a million dollars to help close the pay gap.
On Sunday, the Cincinnati-based company took out a full-page ad in the New York Times declaring its support for equal pay and urging U.S. soccer “to be on the right side of history.” Later, Secret deodorant’s official Twitter account (Secret is manufactured by Procter & Gamble) tweeted that the company will be donating $529,000 to the USWNT, so each team member will get $23,000:
I tend to side-eye companies that throw one-time donations at big systematic problems. It’s not that the USWNT players don’t deserve the cash (they deserve all the cash, and all the champagne), but when a company rakes in about $66 billion a year, $529,000 is a pittance for optics. Plus, Procter & Gamble isn’t even the first company to pledge money the UWSNT—in April, Luna Bar offered every team member $31,250 to help close the gap between the women’s and men’s national teams, and that was even before the team steamrolled its World Cup competition and put the Equal Pay push front and center.
What is noteworthy, though, is that Procter & Gamble (and specifically Secret deodorant) is one of the U.S. Soccer Federation sponsors, and the first of which to call them out on the USWNT vs. USMNT pay gap. So it is, in fact, a good PR move, both for the company and for USWNT’s fight for equal pay push—plus, it lines up Megan Rapinoe’s suggestion on Meet the Press on Sunday that big companies step up and fund gender pay discrepancies in sports.
“I think that it is a complicated issue and I think sometimes we get in the weeds about it, can’t see the forest for the trees, when big sponsors can just write the check,” she said. “These are some of the most powerful corporations, not just in sports but in the world and have so much weight that they can throw around. And I think that they just need to get comfortable throwing it around.”