NWSL announces historic deal with UKG to tackle gender pay gap

NWSL announces historic deal with UKG to tackle gender pay gap

May 9, 2022

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) has announced a multi-year, multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with leading provider of HR, payroll and workforce management solutions, UKG.
UKG will be the first ever title-sponsor of the NWSL Challenge Cup, and the 2023 version of it will be the first-ever women’s professional football tournament to achieve pay equity with the men’s game in the US. Although the exact prize amount has not yet been disclosed, it is reported that it will be divided between the winning team, the runners-up and the semi-finalists.

Brian K. Reaves, Chief Belonging, Diversity, and Equity Officer at UKG, said:
“We refuse to accept that one organisation cannot make a difference in the fight for pay equity — just look at what these remarkable women have done with their collective voice to raise awareness on a national stage about a problem that has plagued our workforce for decades.
“These worthy athletes are also champions in the field of equality. We are so proud to stand beside the NWSL and work toward bringing pay equity to a sport that, for too long unfortunately, reflected the working reality of many women. This partnership is just one of the many actions UKG is taking to raise awareness and encourage action on pay equity across all workplaces and industries.
“At the heart of being a great place to work is providing equal opportunity for all. To be truly supportive, employers must recognize a person’s value; compensate them equitably based on their skills, experience, and the work they perform, no matter their gender; and they must also create equal opportunities for advancement for all people in their organisations.
“Change doesn’t happen overnight, but we believe that, by partnering with the NWSL and calling attention to the persistent issue of pay inequity in this world, we are taking meaningful action to support the livelihoods and aspirations of women and underrepresented groups in the workplace, and to help end the decades-long fight for equity for all.”

Jessica Berman, NWSL Commissioner, added:
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have a partner like UKG, a brand with whom we have shared values.
“Our partnership is purpose-driven, and we believe that will eventually lead to broader impactful change, not only for women in professional sports but for women and underrepresented groups worldwide who have advocated tirelessly for the equity they deserve.”

The NWSL sponsorship deal is part of UKG’s Close the Gap initiative, which is aimed at driving awareness and taking necessary actions to resolve pay disparities among men, women and underrepresented groups. As part of the initiative, UKG is contributing $US0.18 per employee to programmes and organisations who are pushing for equal pay.
NWSL athletes Christen Press and Sydney Leroux also spoke about the deal and what it means for the players and the league.

Christen Press, Angel City FC forward, commented:
“I can’t say how much it means to us that UKG is taking a stand on behalf of pay equity for our players.
“We have fought long and hard for pay equal to that of our male counterparts, and we need more people to take a stand on closing the pay gap and fighting for fair and consistent pay for everyone, regardless of gender, race, background, or profession.”

Sydney Leroux, Orland Pride’s striker, added:
“Every player in this league has worked their whole life to play professional soccer and have the means to support themselves and their families.
“Pay equity goes beyond the average 18 cents less that women are paid for every dollar that a man is paid — it is about people wanting to live the same quality of life, have the same opportunities, and live the same dreams as others doing the same work.”

UKG, which already has a partnership in place with NBA team Miami Heat as their Jersey Patch Partner, joins the likes of Delta Air Lines, Mastercard and Voyager as the NWSL’s sponsors.

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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