There are MANY challenges to be faced as a woman playing, or participating in hockey, and they start before you even step on the ice for the first time.
It's a sad reality that we live in, and although progress is being made each and every day, women face an uphill battle when they choose to play hockey, and it's simply unfair.
Some of the challenges are:
- Substantially less pay for players at the professional level, but also for refereees, coaches, and executives. Many players playing in the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) or National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) have to have another job on the side simply to survive.
- Less opportunity across the board, starting with less teams at the professional level, no semi-professional leagues that are playing players, no current female coaches or referees being employed in the National Hockey League (NHL), plus less teams, leagues, tournaments, and camps for young girls to get involved in.
- If a woman playing professional hockey decides she is ready to start a family, she has to sacrifice her career and step away for well over a year as a result of the pregnancy, while her male counterpart carries on as usual.
- Females have far less representation at decision-making tables in hockey in general, meaning their voices aren't as heard and their game is far less impacted.
- Women are far too objectified, even in 2019. How often do you hear fans or even commentators talk about how attractive a female hockey player is, rather than how talented she is?
- Menstruation can bring side effects such as fatigue, nausea, pain, and depression and more, but female athletes have to fight all of this and keep practicing and participating.
- With the severe difference in pay also comes a very troubling situation after retirement from professional play. While male players have often made enough money to coast for the remainder of their life, or at least have time to transition into something else from the money they made, the women were only making enough to survive while they were actually playing, and suddenly have to find something else immediately after retirement.
These are just a few of the challenges faced, and it's sad to say the list goes on and on. But it does.
But we at CARHA Hockey are going to keep fighting, and keep making improvements day by day.
One day this list will become "The Benefits of Playing Hockey as a Woman" instead.