In spite of the best efforts of the likes of O’Reilly and “Spicey,” who continue to disrespect the women who threaten their fragile male egos, women and women in sports got a huge win this week. This morning, less than two weeks after the women of team USA Hockey announced that they would boycott the International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Championships if they didn’t reach a fair compensation deal with USA Hockey officials, USA Hockey announced that an agreement had been reached that would get the women on the ice in time for the Championships.
Much like the women of the National Soccer Team, the women of USA Hockey had been one of the most dominate international sports teams that America has fielded yet they received salaries and treatment that were an essential slap in the face when compared to their male counterparts. For their efforts at winning six of the last seven IIHF World Championships and medaling in all five Olympics that featured women’s hockey, they earned a fraction of what the men’s team earned. But in a span of a thirteen day strike, the women went from earning:
- $1,000 per month for six months during Olympic years,
- Small $24/day food allowances,
- Subpar travel and lodging accommodations and
- Meager budgets to grow youth hockey
- $70,000 per year with bonus potential for Olympic and World Championship victories,
- a $950,000 pool of money for back-pay,
- Pre-bonus salaries of $4,000 per month, plus another $750 to $2,000 per month from the USOC based on a player’s experience,
- $50/day for meals (an amount equal to the men’s team),
- Travel and insurance accommodations that are equal to the men’s team, and
- The establishment of the Women’s High Performance Advisory Group to ensure the growth and prosperity of girls’ and women’s hockey.
Seriously, that’s a much deserved and impressive increase in compensation. I’ll definitely be calling Team Captain Meghan Duggan for my next salary negotiations. What has been more impressive throughout the strike; however, has been the show of support from women (hockey players and non-hockey players alike) and men throughout the country. When USA Hockey looked for a replacement squad by calling on college, high school and recreation players to suit up, they came up empty-handed as women decided to stand in solidarity with their fellow players and forgo the opportunity to play on an international stage. Sixteen U.S. Senators stood in support of the strike and fight for fair compensation. And each of the major Players’ Associations in US sports voiced their support for the women’s efforts. Yes, it seems that, for perhaps the first time in the history of mankind, everyone agrees that women deserve to be treated fairly.
That’s pretty astonishing and very telling about the growing movement to fairly compensate women in sports. While Team USA Hockey gets to revel in the ultimate display of a refusal to settle for less, this win is a culmination of the tireless work of women like Billie Jean King, Venus Williams and the US Women’s National Soccer Team. Every crack in the glass ceiling that was notched before this strike, made the strike a success. I sincerely hope that this has opened the door for women in other sports to begin to successfully demand more for their efforts in sports. There is no question that they certainly deserve it.