By Ken Reed
The U.S. women’s national hockey team is planning to boycott the hockey world championships in Plymouth, Michigan this month due to inequitable wage and support treatment, relative to the men’s national team, from U.S. Hockey.
“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,” team captain, Meghan Duggan, said in a statement. “We have represented our country with dignity and deserve to be treated with fairness and respect.”
The women’s hockey team is being represented on a pro bono basis by the law firm Ballard Spahr. The firm said USA Hockey provides players only $1,000 per month during the six-month Olympic residency period and “virtually nothing” through the remainder of the four years in between Olympic Games.
National team member Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson said players also get a training stipend of $750 to $2,000 per month from the United States Olympic Committee.
“It’s hard to believe that, in 2017, we still have to fight so hard for basic equitable support (relative to the men’s team),” Monique Lamoureux-Morando said in a statement.
“It’s well overdue for us to speak up about unfair treatment, even if it means sacrificing an opportunity to represent our country. We owe the next generation more than that. We owe it to ourselves to stand up for what is right.”
As is the case with the national team in soccer, the women’s hockey team has been more successful than the men’s team in top-level international competition. For example, since women’s hockey became an Olympic sport in 1998, the United States women’s team has five medals to the men’s two.
National women’s soccer team star, Carli Lloyd, along with four teammates, filed a wage-discrimination complaint against U.S. Soccer in March of last year.
“It had nothing to do with how much I love to play for my country,” wrote Lloyd in a New York Times essay.
“It had everything to do with what’s right and what’s fair, and with upholding a fundamental American concept: equal pay for equal play. Even if you are female. Simply put, we’re sick of being treated like second-class citizens. It wears on you after a while. And we are done with it.”
Perhaps you think the unfair treatment is because the men’s national soccer team is more profitable than the women. Well, if that’s your belief, you’re wrong. According to a U.S. Soccer financial report, the women’s national soccer team projects the women’s team will generate a profit of $5.2 million in 2017 while the men’s national soccer team is forecasted to lose almost $1 million.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of FansPrint
- League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.