In February, the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team broke Canada’s remarkable winning streak as they took home the gold in Pyeongchang, South Korea for the first time in 20 years. However, in addition to this major victory, these women made a separate historic victory in March 2017 in the fight for equal pay.
The team made headlines in 2017 when they threatened to pull out of the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship games unless they received fair wages and benefits from USA Hockey. The team eventually reached an agreement and negotiated a four-year deal with USA Hockey increasing their pay.
“I think as powerful female athletes it was important to us at that point to really make the stand that we did,” said team captain Meghan Duggan in an interview with People Magazine.
And they are not alone. Female athletes have fought for equal opportunity for women in professional soccer, golf, basketball, tennis and more. One recent documentary, Burn the Ships, highlights Ohio’s only professional softball team’s push to stay open, and keep playing despite financial setback.
Nearly four million girls and women play high school and college sports, according to the NCAA, not to mention those who are fans of college and professional sports teams, and who play on a non-professional competitive level.
Last year, on October 26, William Woods University hosted a LEAD event to discuss the progress and challenges in the fight for equal opportunity for women in sports led by the university’s sport management program director, Doug Sanders.
It’s all a part of a growing conversation about equal opportunity in sports for women. From equal pay for professional athletes to growing opportunity to start playing at a young age, bachelor’s in exercise science students concentrating in sport management will find themselves discussing these current issues both in the classroom, in courses like William Woods University’s Social Science in Sport, and in their future workplaces.