For many years, the difference in funding and pay between men’s sports and women’s sports has been drastic. Leagues refuse to pay women even close to an equal amount as men, and I can see why due to the huge lack of interest in women’s sports, notably hockey (although with the Montreal Canadiennes it is slowly becoming increasingly popular). The lack of interest in the sport is, in my opinion, men. Men seem to believe that since women are stereotyped to be the weaker of the two, their sports must not be as intense or as important.
The United States Women’s National Team has since voiced their decision to boycott the IIHF Women’s World Championships due to unfair wages from USA Hockey. The games are said to take place in Plymouth, Michigan starting March 31st. Captain of the Women’s National Team, Meghan Duggan stated, “We are asking for a living wage and for USA Hockey to fully support its programs for women and girls and stop treating us like an afterthought. We have represented our country with dignity and deserve to be treated with fairness and respect.” Now keep in mind, the USA National Women’s Team are the defending champions of the IIHF World Championship, which means they have put a lot of work into their hockey and deserve a living pay, and maybe even more.
USA Hockey puts in approximately $3.5 million towards the boys who are participating in the National Team development program, although there is not a single program like this for women. On top of that, the women’s team only plays 9 games per year when the Olympics aren’t happening. That means only 27 games are played by the women’s national team in between Olympic years.
According to ESPN, the women only get paid for six months out of a 4 year cycle, at around $1000 per month, which equals out to $6000 in a four year period. Factoring in the Olympic bonus it makes about $20,000 in the span of four years. This sort of pay is not liveable and incredibly unacceptable. On top of all the sexism present in the pay gap, before the national teams left for Sochi back in 2014, USA Hockey held a press conference to unveil the sweaters the teams would be wearing in the Olympics, although ONLY the men were invited to the unveiling. Even after the men failed to medal in Sochi, and the women came home with a silver medal, the Women’s team is still treated unfairly despite their immense dedication to their sport.
Mind you, I’m personally not a fan of USA Hockey as a whole due to the fact that I’m a born and raised Canadian, but I do know what it’s like to be treated as a women playing hockey. I understand why the women’s team insists on boycotting the games. Although in an article published yesterday, March 16th 2017, USA Hockey will participate in the games with or without the players who are protesting. USA Hockey apparently has yet to contact replacement players, but will do so if they have to.
USA Hockey has to be taught a lesson. Women’s hockey is impressive and just as important as men’s. The National Men’s Team gets paid more, and plays more games than the women’s team, which is incredibly unfair to the hardworking women who love the sport unconditionally and have continued to play despite the terrible pay over many years. Finally the women decide to stand up for themselves, and USA Hockey continues to do nothing about the issue. The men running USA Hockey need to be replaced with people who actually believe women are worth just as much as men.