USA Women’s Hockey Boycotts World Championship Over “Wage Gap”


Starting on March 31st, the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship will be played in Plymouth, Michigan. Recently, the event has ended up in a battle between Canada and the United States. The US women have brought home the gold medal 7 times, however, they won’t even get that opportunity this year.

Earlier today, the US women’s team announced that they “will not be playing in the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship.” Nevertheless, they stated that they would participate if “significant progress has been made” about “fair wages and equitable support.”

The argument of the women’s national team goes back to the talking point of third wave feminism: the dreaded wage gap. Yet, the wage gap has been “discovered” just by simply adding the total earnings of women and men, then comparing them.

Foremost, the “wage gap” would technically be the “earnings gap,” since it compares total earnings and not wages. Next, the statistic completely ignores differences in men and women.Not only are men and women biologically different, but they make different decisions in life.

According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, men work longer hours than women. In addition, they state that “fewer women than men die of work-related injuries.” The American Enterprise Institute shows that the top 5 highest paid college majors are over 80% male. Pew Research also shows that “women were more likely to say they had taken career interruptions.”

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg for differences among men and women. The US women’s hockey team most likely has been arguing about their pay compared to the men’s hockey team, which is a more appropriate argument than the wage gap in general.

Player salaries depend on team revenue and income. More revenue and profits lead to higher salaries for the players. The revenue comes from a plethora of sources: advertising, marketing, ticket sales, apparel, game tickets, etc.

Compared to men’s sports, women’s has been overshadowed. Whether it be due to athleticism, skill, talent, or entertainment, women’s sports are not nearly as viewed or followed as men’s. This leads to less sales, lower prices, and overall less revenue. At the end of the day, women teams cannot afford the million dollar salaries that the men teams provide because they don’t bring in as much revenue. It’s not sexism, it’s economics and financial management.

This same principle is seen in men’s sports as well. The NBA is one of the most watched sports leagues in America. For players who are not good enough to play in the league, there exists the development-league. Since the D-League has less talent and skill, the games don’t draw fans like the NBA. This all trickles down to the players salaries.

D-League salaries average around $20k. On the contrary, the NBA’s salaries average around $5 million. According to the wage gap theory, a D-League player earns half a cent for every dollar a NBA player makes. Although sexism seems like the answer in the situation of NBA vs D-League, the reasons stated are the cause of the difference.

Perhaps the women’s hockey team could learn about these differences before protesting their own game.

The US women’s full statement is provided below.

“The members of the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team announce that we will not be playing in the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Plymouth, Michigan unless significant progress has been made on the year-long negotiations with USA Hockey over fair wages and equitable support.

We have asked USA Hockey for equitable support as required by the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act. Specifically, we have asked for equitable support in the ares of financial compensation, youth team development, equipment, travel expenses, hotel accommodations, meals, staffing, transportation, marketing and publicity.

The goals of our requests are to achieve fair treatment from USA Hockey, to initiate the appropriate steps to correct the outlined issues, and to move forward with a shared goal of promoting and growing girls and women in our sport while representing the United States in future competitions, including the Women’s World Championship.

Putting on the USA jersey represents the culmination of many years of hard work and sacrifice that reflect our love of both hockey and country. In making these requests, we are simply asking USA Hockey to comply with the law.”s


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