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Powerful Women Athletes Send a Message: #somedayisnow

For nearly two decades, LUNA Bar has been committed to inspiring women, championing change and demanding that equality be a right, not an option. In our third consecutive year of raising awareness for the 20 percent gender pay gap, we’re not letting up as we continue to find ways to help women fight for the equal pay they deserve.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely already chanting #somedayisnow (we see that spark in your eye). Someday Is Now means a movement to champion change, to demand equal pay, and to inspire women everywhere to fight for what we deserve. It’s a rally cry here at LUNA, and it’s for women in every sport -- every pursuit.

We’re stoked by this fierce attitude that’s fueling the women's defending world champion soccer team. Each woman brings something to the field. Each world-class player brings something to her team. Each has had a unique path to get to the top. And yet, we know what every single player has in common - the battle for equal pay.

As the US women headed to France to defend their title as world champions, so did we. We joined some of the most accomplished athletes and inspiring advocates in women’s equality for a discussion in the iconic Eiffel Tower. Onstage, we opened the conversation with hard-hitting topics on inequality, our future generations, and the courage to keep going. We were honored to be in the company of:

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LUNA panel moderator: Catt Sadler

Journalist and renowned TV Host. Sadler left a hard-earned news career of 12 years after being repeatedly denied equal pay after she realized her male counterpart made more than double her salary.

Panelist: Hilary Knight

Three-time Olympic medalist, Seven-time world champion in ice hockey, Team USA. Currently, Knight is demanding adequate resources and support for women’s hockey by boycotting (with more than 200 fellow athletes) the upcoming hockey season.

Panelist: Julie Foudy

One of the most accomplished female soccer players in the world. Foudy was a fixture on the U.S. Women's National team for almost two decades, winning a myriad of premier titles during her tenure there. She wrote the book, Choose to Matter for Young Women.

Panelist: Venus Williams

With seven Grand Slam titles, five Wimbledon championships and four Olympic gold medals, tennis legend Venus Williams is one of the most accomplished and inspiring women in the history of sports. In 2007, Venus led an unwavering fight at Wimbledon, which led Wimbledon to award women players the same pay as their male counterparts.

Our conversation was provocative, the anecdotes were interesting, and the energy matched the women in the room - powerful. Their stories, even from the top, are relatable. Their advice, actionable. Read on for thoughts from a few of our favorite women athletes.

What does equality mean to each of you, personally?

“I have a 10-year old son and I have a 12-year old girl, and one of the things I always think about is if they're pursuing the same path - will they have the chance to pursue that same path? Will the same amount of doors be open for the two of them? And, if they were to get the same job, how would that differ.” - Julie Foudy

“Growing up I was taught to be powerful and confident, so as a child growing up that's all I knew. So when you walk out there in the world, you don't always realize that it is not unequal. All I knew was to fight for what I believed in.” - Venus Williams

On the effects of inequality [Read: How men’s sports have gotten so far ahead]

“It was explained to me that it's sort of like planting seeds. On one side, there's been a lot of seed planting, a lot of watering, and a lot of growth -- that's the men's side. On the women's side, unfortunately, there haven’t been as many seeds planted. And right now, we're trying to open those doors and get those seeds planted so we can we have that growth. We just need the opportunity to do so and we haven't had it on an equal playing field before. Now we're making strides and doing that.” - Hilary Knight

What is men’s role in the fight for women’s equality?

“Two of our great feminists in my life and our team's life, were men. I always introduce them as the greatest feminists I know. John Lango, who worked with the hockey team, and Ross Greenburg, former president of HBO Sports, whose been a great mentor for a lot of us. So the importance of men in this conversation -- and this equation -- is huge as allies and advocates, as well. And the last thing we want to do is push them out of that conversation.” - Julie Foudy

On inequality for women of color

On average, women are compensated 20% less than men. This difference in pay is even more despicable for women of color. This is unacceptable. And it isn’t discussed enough. We’re changing that.

“White women are making 81 cents on the dollar. It’s far worse for minorities and women of color, specifically. And I feel like we can't have the conversation without talking about race.” - Catt Sadler

How can each of us use our voice? How do we recognize our own courage?

“I really believe it's the people you surround yourself with that help empower you to feel confident and go out there, attack the world, and change it for the better.” - Hilary Knight

“I think that you channel courage by conquering your fear. And part of that is knowing that you just aren't going to be successful every time. You are going to fail and that's just part of it. And all of us here have failed probably more times than we care to remember. You have those moments where you're not happy with how your performance is, but in order to get to that next level, you realize the failure is just as much as a success.” - Venus Williams

On fueling your fire

In 1991, Julie Foudy and her National teammates made an astonishing $10 per day. Talented women entering the peak of their career couldn’t even make rent.

“At first you think it builds character. And then you think, ‘I have character flowing out of my ears. I am done building character.’ And you get to a point where you say -- as we've seen with Hilary and the hockey women as well -- enough. Enough.” - Julie Foudy

“When people say that you shouldn’t, or that it's not possible, or that you don't deserve it... I know what I deserve and what I worked for. Don't just tell me I can't have it because of how I was born.” - Venus Williams

“As women, we have been taught our whole lives that anger is bad. Don't get upset. Don't be mad. For me, it was the anger that fueled me. I had to be angry. I’d had enough.” - Cat Sadler

On the next generation

“Personally, I feel so encouraged because I feel like this next generation is getting it. They're getting it now. They're seeing all of this happen and they're not just standing on the sidelines.” - Catt Sadler

“As parents, we have to model our behavior to show our belief. To show that we're not always thinking about someday. That’s why LUNA’s [#somedayisnow] campaign is so brilliant. Because that someday should be right now.” - Julie Foudy

What we’re taking away

You will face naysayers. Not everyone wants to go the distance or climb the mountain. Insert your extra-mile analogy here.

You’ll face opposition even in your own camp. Women who might not think they should be striving for a spot at the top. But we all need role models to know where to go. We can all start somewhere, but let’s not put it off. Let’s have this conversation today. #somedayisnow

“Not everyone gets on the train.” - Venus Williams

“Something as simple as just turning on your TV for a women's game, or match, or when a woman is presenting -- it makes a difference. I think it's really important that we collectively support women. It's not just a women's issue, it's a world issue. And I think by doing -- sort of chipping away at it -- we're going to get to where we need to be. Hopefully not someday, but now.” - Hilary Knight