To the President of the Finnish Ice Hockey Association Harri Nummela
Mr President of the Finnish Ice Hockey Association,
we at the Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL) are worried by the discriminatory activities that took place within Finnish ice hockey last week. Yle reported that the third final match of the women’s league was moved from the team’s home rink because of the men’s A-juniors’ quarter-final match. Despite the wishes of the female players the game was moved, mostly because of ice time and hierarchy. In the interview included in the news article you state that this is not an equality issue.
Women’s position in sports has been unequal for years. The financial investment into women’s sports is small. To this day, women’s sporting achievements do not make the headlines in the same way as men’s. Could you imagine a situation where the men’s league final was moved because of a match at a lower level? Absolutely not. If this had been the men’s league final, a similar situation could never have occurred. This is very much an equality issue.
One of the aims included in the Finnish Ice Hockey Association’s strategy is to grow women’s and girls’ ice hockey considerably. There is a great deal of potential in Finland and Finnish ice hockey, on the women’s side, too. It is excellent that the Ice Hockey Association also wants to grasp this opportunity. But how do you expect women’s ice hockey to grow and the player, spectator and supporter numbers to increase if women are always the ones having to give way and remain in the men’s shadow? If it is a matter of ice time, then why does the women’s league have less ice time than the men? Is less ice time in itself not a factor that discriminates against women? Equality cannot be achieved simply by including an aim to grow women’s and girls’ ice hockey in the Ice Hockey Association’s strategy or by stating that moving the women’s league final match because of the men’s quarter-final match is not an equality issue. Equality requires actions.
The position held by women’s ice hockey in the Ice Hockey Association’s hierarchy is much too low. The Ice Hockey Association’s strategy includes increasing the importance of women’s and girl’s ice hockey and making sure women get enough ice time. The Finnish Student Sports Federation demands that the Finnish Ice Hockey Association re-examines its workings and breaks away from old-fashioned norms by properly increasing the importance of women’s ice hockey within the activities of the Association. Be brave, be ambitious and lift women’s ice hockey to the position it truly deserves! If the Finnish Ice Hockey Association does not recognise that women are valuable, then the Finnish people will not do so either.
For more information, please contact:
+358 44 780 0211
1st Vice President
+358 44 780 0216