"I think right now there is just incredible momentum in women's sports and we are excited to support and inspire this next generation of female athletes heading into this World Cup," Amy Montagne, Nike's vice president of global categories said about NIKE’s decision to focus heavily on women in sports during the entire year of 2019.
NIKE FE/NOM Sports Bra
She continued: "We are committed to using our brand as a catalyst to help bring that energy in women's sport to more people around the world."
NIKE leveraged the announcement to promote its new FE/NOM sports bra available in stores this summer. The sorts bra uses the same technology as NIKE’s well-known Flyknit sneakers.
"The bra is constructed with an ultra-soft nylon-spandex yarn that form-fits to your body, using two single-layer panels that are assembled for a seamless feel," Nike wrote in a press release to launch the product.
It continued: "The result is a significant reduction in materials and seams. While other high-support Nike bras can have up to 41 pieces and 22 seams, the Nike FE/NOM Flyknit Bra has two panels and a binding and is 30% lighter than any other bra in Nike's line."
2018 NIKE Frat Boy Culture Shakeup
NIKE’S decision to promote and invest in women comes after high-level resignations/firings in 2018, including that of NIKE brand president Trevor Edwards and NIKE vice president Jayme Martin.
March 2018 reports in The Wall Street Journal said both executives “protected male subordinates who engaged in behavior that was demeaning to female colleagues,” and bullied “women and individuals from foreign countries.”
A through investigation into NIKE’s frat-boy corporate culture came after a series of anonymous but damning public Glassdoor reviews.
NIKE’s 2019 YEAR OF Empowering WOMEN
Superfemme Serena Williams led the call to NIKE’S focus on women in sports with her inspiring commercial. The sports brand giant announced in March, commemorating International Women’s Day, that it will be sponsoring 14 national teams for the FIFA Women's World Cup this summer and unveiled designs for new team uniforms.
NIKE vs adidas On Soccer’s Equal Pay Lawsuit
It must be said that NIKE continues to play catchup to adidas in publicly supporting core issues for women in sports arena. In an ongoing equal pay dispute in women’s soccer, all 28 members of the world champion United States women’s soccer team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation, in March 2019.
Adidas immediately stepped up to the plate, perfectly timed with the lawsuit, saying that any adidas-sponsored soccer players on the U.S. Women’s National Team would receive the same performance bonuses as their male counterparts.
The support by adidas of the equal pay lawsuit launched by US Women’s Soccer prompted feminist organization UltraViolet to issue this challenge to NIKE:
“The U.S. women’s soccer team is the best in the world—with three World Cup championships and four Olympic gold medals—and they have brought tremendous prestige to U.S. soccer and inspired a passion for sports in young women across the world.
“Adidas made the right call by promising to pay the World Cup-winning players it sponsors equal bonuses to their peers on the men’s team, and its show of solidarity with the women’s team will not go unnoticed.
“That’s why now is the time for Nike—who sponsors players Alex Morgan, Mallory Pugh, Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath, to name a few—to step up and do the right thing by following in Adidas’ footsteps. Nike should pledge to pay the USWNT players it sponsors performance bonuses that are commensurate to those of men’s team.
“Equal pay for equal play is a no-brainer, Nike. Just do it.”
Sponsor LUNA Nutrition Bars Stepped Up For Equal Pay In Women’s Soccer
LUNA nutrition bars stepped up to the plate on Equal Pay Day in the United States, pledging to pay $31, 250 to each of the players who makes the 23-woman World Cup roster. The sum is equal to the difference between what the U.S. Soccer Federation pays the men’s and women’s national teams in bonus money for qualifying for the World Cup.
NIKE Quiet On Equal Pay Dispute
To the best of our searching knowledge — and we could be wrong, but we searched very carefully as we respect NIKE — the brand hasn’t responded to the call for NIKE to take a stand on equal pay for women in soccer. Note that women’s soccer games are actually more popular and draw more TV viewers than men’s soccer.
Writing for Forbes on April 30, Alana Glass covers the topic of women’s equality in global soccer generally.