Deodorant brand Secret announced Sunday that it will donate $529,000 to help close the alleged gender pay gap for the U.S. women’s soccer team.
Fox Business reported that the donation makes Secret, a subsidiary of Procter & Gamble, the first U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) sponsor to publicly endorse the players’ claims that they are paid less than men and deserve more. Secret made its announcement in a full-page ad in The New York Times’ Sunday edition.
The ad starts by explaining that since there are 23 women on the team, it will donate a total of $23,000 to each player (for a total of $529,000). It then goes on to use certain buzzwords — like “right side of history” — to emphasize its agenda.
“As a partner, we know the U.S. Soccer Federation is an organization of considerable strength,” the ad says (emphasis original.) “It has the strength to be on the right side of history.”
“But after all the toasts, cheers, parades and awards subside, the issue remains. Inequality is about more than pay and players; it’s about values,” the ad continues (emphasis original.) “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 women’s team filed a lawsuit against the Federation earlier this year alleging gender discrimination because they weren’t paid as much as male players. As The Daily Wire wrote last month, much of the discrepancy comes from the differences in revenue the teams bring in and the pay structures outlined in their collective bargaining agreements. When it comes to FIFA, the men’s World Cup brings in far more than the women’s World Cup — at least it did previously. The men’s 2014 World Cup generated $4.5 billion in direct revenue for FIFA, while the women’s cup brought in a fraction of that — in the millions.
But shortly after that article was published, the women’s team released information showing they brought in more revenue for the U.S. Soccer Federation (separate from FIFA) than the men’s team. The women said they brought in $50.8 million in revenue compared to the men’s $49.9 million in revenue. It’s a small difference, but enough to cast doubt on the revenue claims.
The Tampa Bay Times, however, noted the pay issue is much more complex. The women’s team only out-earned the men’s team in one year — 2016. Every other year the men’s team earned more slightly more. But the women’s team only started even coming close to bringing in as much revenue as the men’s team in the past three years, the Times reported:
Looking year by year, 2016 was actually the only year in which the women’s team generated more revenue from games — $24.11 million, compared to $22.24 million for the men. In 2017, both teams brought in about the same revenue at $14.61 million, and in 2018, the men’s team brought in $13 million compared to the women’s $12.03 million.
This pattern marked a reversal from prior years: In 2014 and 2015, the men’s team earned $8.31 million and $11.71 million more than the women’s team, respectively.
Much of the remaining dispute is more difficult to quantify, the Times reported. The women’s team is starting to bring in more viewership, which has led to increased revenue. The teams also have different collective bargaining agreements. The women earn a base salary and bonuses on top of that, while the men’s team only get bonuses.
The women’s team has been doing better in recent years. A new collective bargaining agreement seems to be what it needs to solve its current pay issues.