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Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Degree Deodorant Launches #TrainersforHire Campaign to Challenge Fitness Industry After 81% of People with Disabilities Say they Do Not Feel Welcome in Fitness Spaces

September 20, 2021 GMT
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ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., Sept. 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Degree Deodorant has launched the #TrainersForHire initiative – a call for more representation in the fitness industry by encouraging fitness companies to hire trainers with disabilities. New research from partner Lakeshore Foundation, a nonprofit organization specializing in sports science for athletes with disabilities around the world, found that 81% of people with disabilities do not feel welcome in fitness spaces. It’s evident that disabled athletes face heightened discrimination and bias as a result of societal ability standards. This is compounded by the lack of representation of disabled trainers and coaches in the fitness industry and the limited access to inclusive fitness spaces.

As a result, Degree has created – a site where fitness companies can find a growing roster of diverse disabled trainers and coaches looking for employment within the industry and reach out to them directly for potential employment. The site also features a free online portal with curated and educational resources where companies can learn more about how to make their spaces accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities.


“As a brand, Degree believes no one should be held back from experiencing the transformative benefits of movement. That’s why we’re fighting for a world where everyone has the confidence to move. With #TrainersforHire, our mission is to advocate for more diverse champions of movement and challenge societal ability standards. We hope to remind the fitness industry – and beyond – that everyone deserves the freedom to move, whoever you are, however you move,” said Kathryn Swallow, Global Brand Vice President, Degree.

To further drive attention to this issue, Degree released an open letter in The New York Times calling on the fitness industry to join the brand in creating a more inclusive world for people with disabilities. This letter includes an open invitation for fitness industry leaders to participate in the brand’s first-ever inclusive pop-up cycling classes in New York City’s Flatiron Plaza on September 21, 2021, led by Paralympic Medalist and World Champion Medalist and dynamic motivational speaker, Blake Leeper.


“Oftentimes, trainers unfairly assume that coaching people with disabilities will be too challenging of a task. This is why I was so pumped to be a part of this opportunity with Degree. I will be guiding these outdoor pop-up cycling classes with a more inclusive approach and adjustable direction. Overall, I’m most interested in demonstrating to the industry the importance and simplicity of coaching a more inclusive crowd, while keeping intact the integrity of the sport/exercise,” said Leeper.

Classes will include people with and without disabilities to showcase ideal representation of what inclusion in fitness classes should look like. That same day, mobile billboards will tour the offices of major fitness institutions across New York City, amplifying this issue and challenging the industry to join in on making fitness spaces more accessible for people with disabilities.

To support the initiative, Degree recently launched new marketing titled “Watch Me Move,” starring professional surfer, life coach, and adaptability advocate Bethany Hamilton. Aired during the recent Paralympic Games, the film celebrates diverse, authentic stories of those who have defied society’s idealized ability standards and definitions of what a “mover” looks like.

“I’ve experienced judgment and maybe a little bit of discrimination firsthand against my ability as an athlete. I’m thrilled to partner with Degree and cheer on healthy change in the fitness industry and to increase representation of the adaptive community. Movement is for everyone, regardless of our differences,” said Hamilton.

Together, the spot and #TrainersforHire campaign underscore Degree’s ongoing efforts to create products and experiences that better serve the needs of people with disabilities. Most recently, the brand introduced Degree Inclusive, the world’s first inclusive deodorant for people with upper limb disabilities and visual impairment. Now, Degree is also bringing these efforts full circle by announcing its role as the first dedicated strategic partner of the United States Para Soccer Team.” With more programming ahead, these collective efforts ladder back to Degree’s larger Breaking Limits program, a $5 million commitment over the next five years to empower millions of people to move beyond limits – supporting those who face the biggest barriers to being active (including people with disabilities) and providing them access to coaches, mentors, and safe spaces to move.

Join @Degree and tell the fitness industry there are many #TrainersForHire who can help! The brand looks forward to making a change and creating a world where people with disabilities feel seen and welcome in all spaces. To learn more about the campaign, follow Degree on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook using the hashtag #TrainersForHire.

About Degree Deodorant
Degree deodorants and antiperspirants are designed to inspire the confidence in everyone to move more. We make it our business to know more about sweat, and what we learn informs every product innovation to help you keep moving. As a brand designed for and dedicated to promoting movement, Degree has always believed in the power of movement to enhance our wellbeing. Yet, we know that the opportunity to move is not distributed equally, which is why we have made a commitment to ensure everyone has the freedom to move and help youth transform their lives through the power of movement. We are bringing this commitment to life through a variety of ongoing partnerships and programs that strive to help everyone find the confidence to move beyond limits. Visit  and follow us on  Instagram,  Twitter, and  Facebook  to learn more. 

About Unilever North America
Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products, with sales in over 190 countries and products used by 2.5 billion people every day. We have 149,000 employees and generated sales of €50.7 billion in 2020. Over half of our footprint is in developing and emerging markets. We have around 400 brands found in homes all over the world. In the United States and Canada, the portfolio includes iconic brand such as: Dove, Knorr, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Magnum, Axe, Ben & Jerry’s, Degree, Dollar Shave Club, Q-tips, Seventh Generation, St. Ives, Suave, TRESemmé, and Vaseline.

Our vision is to be the global leader in sustainable business and to demonstrate how our purpose-led, future-fit business model drives superior performance. We have a long tradition of being a progressive, responsible business. It goes back to the days of our founder William Lever, who launched the world’s first purposeful brand, Sunlight Soap, more than 100 years ago, and it’s at the heart of how we run our company today.

The Unilever Compass, our sustainable business strategy, is set out to help us deliver superior performance and drive sustainable and responsible growth, while:

  • Improving the health of the planet;
  • Improving people’s health, confidence and wellbeing; and
  • Contributing to a fairer and more socially inclusive world.

While there is still more to do, we are proud to have been recognized in 2020 as a sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and – for the tenth-consecutive year – as the top ranked company in the 2020 GlobeScan/SustainAbility Sustainability Leaders survey.

For more information on Unilever U.S. and its brands visit:
For more information on Unilever Canada and its brands visit:

About Lakeshore Foundation
Lakeshore Foundation, a nonprofit organization located in Birmingham, Alabama, is an international leader combining expertise in physical activity, advocacy, and research. Lakeshore provides opportunities for children and adults with physical disabilities and chronic health conditions to live active, healthy lives. In 2003, Lakeshore earned the designation as an official United States Olympic & Paralympic Training Site. For more information, visit

Sebastian Cortez   

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