Nike says it is changing contracts to support athletes in pregnancy

Business


Alysia Montano runs in the Women”s 800 Meter opening round during Day 1 of the 2017 USA Track & Field Championships at Hornet Satdium on June 22, 2017 in Sacramento, California.

Andy Lyons | Getty Images

Nike said is adding “written terms” to new contracts to support athletes during pregnancy days after being criticized for cutting the pay of some female stars who had children.

The sneaker giant posted a statement Friday on its website saying that while it changed its policy to support female athletes during pregnancy last year, it recognized it could “go even further.”

“Moving forward, our contracts for female athletes will include written terms that reinforce our policy,” Nike said in the release.

The move comes after star runner Alysia Montaño’s May 12 op-ed in The New York Times in which she detailed her experiences with Nike. The shoe manufacturer told her it would pause her contract and stop paying her while she was pregnant, and she signed with a competitor afterwards. The article was the latest to increase awareness of the difficulties working mothers across industries face as they seek to close the gap in compensation with male counterparts.

“We want to make it clear today that we support women as they decide how to be both great mothers and great athletes,” the company said it its statement. “We recognize we can do more and that there is an important opportunity for the sports industry to evolve to support female athletes.”

While existing athlete contracts aren’t changing, Nike told The Wall Street Journal that athletes on existing deals would get similar protections, the newspaper reported yesterday. A call to Nike’s press department wasn’t immediately returned.



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