Women don't have it quite as easy as men do in the game of hockey.
With the sport only just beginning to start growth towards equality, there are many hurdles that women face in the sport. The courage and perserverance they show to overcome these challenges is inspiring.
Right off the bat, women battle with gender norms the second they decide to take up hockey. For whatever reason, society decided a long time ago that hockey is a man's sport, which is obviously completely untrue. Women are fighting back that notion and slowly ripping down that barrier, but for now, there are people who still hold this belief unfortunately.
To get an idea of the perceptions of women in sport, look at Cam Newton of the National Football League's Carolina Panthers laughing and saying, "Hah, it's funny to hear a women talk about routes" upon getting asked a certain question at a post-game conference. These are the things women have to fight through, as awful as it may be, and we're all responsible for holding the world of sports to a higher standard and fighting to remove these perceptions.
To add to that, there are simply less opportunities for women in hockey right now. Even if you play at the highest level of hockey in the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) or National Women's Hockey League (NWHL), you simply aren't getting paid enough to make a living just yet. What this means - women have to have plans in place to have reliable work on the side while they're also a professional hockey player, and this often takes several years of schooling. Having to pursue their education while they also pursue their professional hockey career can slow their development.
And that's without mentioning less opportunity as coaches, managers, broadcasters, executives, etc.
Pregnancy is another thing women have to think about that men never would. Some women won't want to wait until the end of their hockey career to have children, so they're going to have to give up the sport for several years to go through pregnancy, raise their child, and adapt to the changes in their body. Meanwhile, men can play right through the process.
Lastly, with no body contact in women's hockey, women must adapt to a completely different style of play than the widespread norm. They have to learn to be more strategic in the way they play since they'll be penalized for body checking someone off the puck.
The hurdles are there, but for every hurdle that exists, there's a woman overcoming that hurdle.
They are paving the way for future generations, and they're doing a fantastic job.