Equal money for equal work. As in many other parts of life, this sentence does not apply for the current payment situation in professional sports. The differences in payment between men and women are tremendous. That has to change.
A few days before the World Hockey Games will start in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the United States women’s national team has threatened the USA Hockey to strike and not take part in the tournament. Rightly, the title holders protest against their bad payment situation.
USA Hockey pays women’s national team players $1,000 during the six-month period leading up to the Olympics but virtually nothing in the other three and a half years between the games. During the negotiations, USA Hockey offered to increase this amount of money up to $3,000 a month but still does not want to pay for the rest of the four years. It is time to reorganize the payment mode for women to give them the same chances as their male colleagues.
Men’s national team players also earn only $1,000 in the six-month period before the Olympics but they have much better possibilities to earn money in the NHL. The minimum contract there is $650,000 a year.
In contrast to the men, National Women’s Hockey League players earn only between $14,000 and $18,000 a year in their struggling league. Because of these low salaries, women often have to work in a second and sometimes third job. This leads to the fact that they cannot put as much effort in the sport as their male colleagues.
Because the women’s league is not that professional, the players spend more time with the national team. That is why USA Hockey should change its position and support the women with an annual salary.
Compared to the female ice hockey players, the United States women’s national team is financially well equipped. Each member of the team gets $99,000 per year from the United States Soccer Federation if they win at least 20 exhibition matches. Nevertheless, some women protest against their salary and ask for more. And they are in the right.
Looking at the male soccer team, the women are totally underpaid. Under the same conditions, men earn $263,320 and get extra money for each win beyond 20.
People often say that male teams get a higher payment because they are more successful and have a bigger audience. In women’s soccer this argument is false because the women are far more competitive. While the men have never reached a world cup’s semifinal, the women won the world cup three times. Furthermore the Women’s World Cup final in 2015 was the most watched soccer game in the history of the United States.
Looking at these examples, the sport federations should stop distinguishing between men and women when they have not already started playing. The payment should depend on how successful the teams are and not on the gender. But irrespective those facts, both men and women should get at least so much money to do their sport in a professional way with the same chances without the need to do extra jobs.