Secret Deodorant’s spot highlights the challenges women have faced as a result of COVID-19

Secret Deodorant announced the launch of #RaiseItUp, a multi-phased initiative that empowers and supports women at a time when COVID-19 threatens to be the biggest setback to gender equality in a decade.

As part of Secret’s pledge to donate an additional US$1m/£770k in support of equality programs, the brand is taking immediate action in partnership with YWCA USA to establish a “Secret Missions” fund that will provide direct assistance to women. These “Secret Missions” will focus on childcare, career development and other key areas that make a difference in the lives of women and their families.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected women and even further increased inequalities in opportunities and income for multicultural women,” said Freddy Bharucha, Senior Vice President, North America & Global Personal Care, Procter & Gamble. “Secret is proud to step up, in partnership with the YWCA, to provide assistance and opportunities to the women who need it the most. Together, we will #RaiseItUp for women everywhere.”

According to McKinsey & Company’s Women in the Workplace 2020 study, women—especially Black women and women of colour—are more likely to have been laid off or furloughed during the COVID-19 crisis, stalling their careers and jeopardizing their financial security.

In fact, the Department of Labor stated that out of the 700,000+ jobs that were eliminated in the first wave of pandemic layoffs, nearly 60 percent were held by women. Similarly, one in three mothers has considered leaving the workforce or downshifting her career since the pandemic, with household responsibilities, childcare and home-schooling listed as top contributing factors.

The 2020 pandemic has exacerbated many of the things women already face, and they have been shouldering the weight of the challenges brought on this year,” said Sara Saunders, Senior Brand Director, Secret & Gillette. “Through our #RaiseItUp initiative, we aim to not only celebrate the strength and resilience of women but also take meaningful action to support them in the areas of their life that mean the most.”

“COVID-19 has eroded many positive gains towards closing gender gaps and has placed added impediments for women to be sources of significant global growth,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, CEO, YWCA USA.

“In order to mitigate those losses, it is imperative now more than ever that brand and organizations like Secret and YWCA USA unite to work to advance equality for all women through initiatives like #RaiseItUp. This partnership will help us continue to deliver programming, services, and other resources that support our mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.”

Women are the coaches, players, trainers and fans in everyday life. From morning to night, they run non-stop. They are accepting the challenges thrown at them in 2020, and Secret is calling on women everywhere to share a photo on social media of what it means to them to #RaiseItUp.

Notable women, including WNBA stars Swin Cash and A’Ja Wilson, helped kick off a social media campaign, sharing their own personal #RaiseItUp images and inviting women to share how they “raise it up” – at home, at work, for their families and, most importantly, for themselves.

Developed internally by P&G in-house creative team, Secret also debuted a new television commercial during the WNBA finals on Sunday, 4 October. The :60 second spot features the work of two dynamic, creative Black women: an original poem by poet, author and activist, Jasmine Mans, and it was directed by Chassidy Jade, who also works to give opportunities to high school graduates interested in film, specifically young Black women and women of colour.

Cameos include some of the WNBA’s biggest stars, including newly minted Most Valuable Player (MVP) A’Ja Wilson and WNBA “Wubble Moms” Phoenix Mercury’s Bria Hartley and Candice Dupree of the Indiana Fever.

The spot highlights the challenges women have faced as a result of COVID-19. Provocative and bold, Jasmine’s work embodies what it means to elevate women’s voices, especially those of Black and Latinx women. Through her poetry in Secret’s new spot, Mans tells a story that unites all women in their strength.

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