Pay Inequity: It’s Not Logical, It’s Sexist

By Kyra Charles

In 1974, an amazing ad* aired on television. Batman and Robin are tied up in an abandoned warehouse with a bomb ready to explode. Batgirl swings in, presumably to rescue our heroes. However, she stops dead in her tracks in front of the bomb, refusing to defuse it. Why? “I’ve worked for you a long time, and I’m paid less than Robin!” she declares. The announcer leaves us on a cliff-hanger, with Batgirl’s heroism depending on the passage of the Federal Equal Pay Law*.

Forty-six years later and pay inequity is still the norm. According to the AAUW*, the average woman earns 80 cents for every dollar paid to men, and it’s often less than that for women of color. Of course, there are arguments as to why this is the case. One is that women are frequently paid less because of inexperience. But pay inequality has already lasted through generations of women who’ve built careers for themselves. Like Batgirl, some are even paid less than men in junior roles*.

Then there’s the argument of children; that women usually take amateur jobs so that they can raise them. Even so, a study from Business Insider shows that mothers are actually paid more than women without children, and both groups are still paid less than men*. Women are pressured to prioritize children over their jobs, and then punished by their jobs by not being paid enough to care for their children.

Pay inequity effects women of all walks of life, refusing to budge over antiquated ideas of a woman’s place. According to the statistics, at the rate we’re going, equal pay won’t be achieved in the US until 2059, almost one hundred years after the Equal Pay Act was passed*. But I’m not interested in waiting. Due to the effects of the coronavirus, the UMKC Women’s Center couldn’t have its annual Equal Pay Day table, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do! AAUW has several different resource kits for how to educate and fight for this issue, from calling your representatives to recruitment events. You can also further educate yourselves and others on this topic and break the taboo of salary silence. We shouldn’t have to hold a bomb over our boss’s heads to be paid equal to our male counterparts.

*https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is5vIf7nwsU

*https://www.history.com/topics/womens-rights/equal-pay-act

*https://www.aauw.org/resource/how-to-equal-pay-day/

*https://www.fastcompany.com/90325308/why-are-women-still-making-so-much-less-than-men

*https://www.businessinsider.com/gender-wage-pay-gap-charts-2017-3

*https://iwpr.org/publications/projected-year-wage-gap-will-close-state/

 

Raising a Child Gender Neutral

By Adriana Suarez

This semester, I am emerging into my minor by taking an introduction to sociology. The class has been everything I imagined, filled with much discussion and information about social structures and more. It has taught me so much about everyone’s place in society and our differing perspectives of the world in such a few short class periods.

One of the most fascinating stories I heard was on a podcast about a family who decided to raise their children gender neutral. I feel that raising a child this way really changes the way that you see the world and it shows how gender is simply a structure that society has placed on everybody. From the moment that we are conceived, many people ask, “What is it?” expecting the answer to be a boy or a girl. This tells them which adjectives to call the baby by and which gift to buy for them.

Before discussing this podcast in class, I didn’t realize how big of a deal gender is as a social institution in our society. There are obvious things placed in our day to day lives that separate gender, like appearance, restrooms, and clothes. Gender defines how people pick out clothes; girls tend to be gifted the color pink while boys are gifted the color blue. Even the material that clothes are made of reflects on gender, as girls’ clothes tend to be made from soft materials such as silk and boys’ are made from cotton. Boys are expected to play rough, so their clothes need to be able to withstand such destruction, while girls aren’t necessarily supposed to be involved in such activities. This goes to show how clothes tend to restrict girls into what they can and can’t do.

That’s just a little insight to the discussion we had in class, but if you would like to listen to the podcast in its entirety and hear more in-depth about the family and the outcomes, the link is as follows.

https://n.pr/2UXXWN3

Additionally, I want to acknowledge this as my last post for the UMKC Women’s Center. I appreciate all that I have learned here and hope to use it as I move forward. Thank you all!

 

Women’s Center Update

Effective March 19, UMKC Women’s Center staff will be working remotely in accordance with the University COVID-19 response. While all in-person programming remaining for the spring semester has been canceled and the the Center has been closed until at least April 13, please know that you can still contact us and set up virtual appointments by emailing bethmanb@umkc.edu or umalia@umkc.edu

 

We recognize that this is a difficult time for many, but remember that you are not alone, and if you need support please contact us or utilize these other resources available to you:

Resources Page:

https://info.umkc.edu/womenc/services/campus-and-community-resources/

UMKC COVID-19 Response:

 

Women’s Center Update

On Friday, March 13, the UM System university announced that all classes will be taught online and all campus events canceled for the remainder of the semester.

This, unfortunately, applies to the UMKC Women’s Center as well and we are canceling all remaining events for the spring semester.  This breaks our hearts, but it’s necessary to prioritize community safety right now.

Additionally, while the Women’s Center remains open, but we are putting social distancing procedures into place, so please call or email ahead if you’re planning to visit. We’re also working on setting up a Zoom account, so stay turned for more information on that.

So Long and Farewell!

By Maggie Pool

Since the beginning of this academic year, I have been an office assistant at UMKC’s Women’s Center. My time here has proven not only my aptitude for learning more about my passions, such as feminism, but also how much power I have in spreading that knowledge to the people around me.

One of my responsibilities was writing a weekly blog post for the Women’s Center website.

“What do I need to write about?” I asked.

“Anything about women.”

As broad as that prompt was, it allowed me to freely explore realms about women in fields that I am already deeply ingrained in, like film, for example. I became fascinated over the gender inequalities surrounding Oscar nominations, especially after this year featured an explosive amount of incredible female directors and female-driven film projects. I explored the history of fallen Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein, who has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for two felony sex crimes. I dove into film industry history with Dorothy Arzner, who was the only woman director to successfully transition into the era of talkies from silent cinema. All of these topics filled me with greater wonder and love for the world of cinema, while also expanding my knowledge of women’s influence in cinema.

Alongside graduate assistant Indra Mursid, I had the honor of creating a brand new Women’s Center program. Indra and I teamed up to start a Menstrual Products Drive to raise awareness about the expenses of menstrual products, the hardships women go through during periods, the Pink Tax, and how many schools are trying to make products more accessible. We held the drives in UMKC’s residence halls, and we were pleasantly surprised to see students excited about our program by donating products for others to use. The ultimate goal was to have products available in every women’s and gender-neutral bathroom on campus. Raising awareness about menstrual cycles makes the subject less taboo. That will hopefully make it more possible in the future for women to have better access to menstrual products and better support systems during menstrual cycles.

My time working at the Women’s Center has been one of my favorite working experiences yet. I’ve told the staff they can’t get rid of me that easily! I will be back for events and to study in the amazing supportive environment that is the Women’s Center. I thank everyone so much for the fun and wonderful experience that this has been! So long and farewell!

Lucretia Mott, The Lioness

Image credited to Wikimedia Commons

By Kyra Charles

There is a reserved canon of influential women who were considered pioneers of the Women’s Suffrage movement. Through the years, the Women’s Center has written about Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ida B. Wells and Sojourner Truth. But today, I want to write about Lucretia Mott, one of the famous suffragists who will be appearing on the back of $10 bill this August. Throughout her life, Lucretia fought tooth and nail not only for women’s suffrage, but for social reforms like the right to divorce and African Americans’ right to vote. Without Lucretia, many of the famous suffragists we know wouldn’t have made the strides they did.

Lucretia Mott, born Lucretia Coffin in 1793, was raised as a Quaker. Her religious education and upbringing taught her that all people were equal under God, including those that were living in slavery. She founded the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1833, and hosted the second Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women in 1838. Throughout this time at her life, she was under constant threat from abolition opponents and even other abolitionists who didn’t want women at their meetings. Angry mobs targeted her events and gathered outside her home. Lucretia was unfazed, and at the 1838 convention, assigned every white women to walk arm and arm with a black women for safety.

Her efforts paid off, as she was invited to the White House to speak in front of Congress and met with President John Tyler. Lucretia was also one of the six women who spoke at the World’s Anti-Slavery Convention, and gained the title of “Lioness of the Convention” for her speech. She dazzled the crowd, including a twenty-four year old Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who Lucretia would take under her wing.

Together, they organized the famous Seneca Falls Convention, where many of the brightest minds fighting against social injustice gathered to discuss women’s rights. She signed the Declaration of Sentiments, which not only demanded a woman’s right to vote, but to education, divorce, property, and career. Following the Civil war, she became the first president of the American Equal Rights Association. But when her former pupil Elizabeth Cady Stanton joined with a known racist businessman, Lucretia resigned. For years, she tried to heal the divide between the white female suffragists and African Americans, truly believing equality didn’t stop with a white woman’s right to vote.

From appearances alone, Lucretia Mott doesn’t give the impression of a “Lioness” but that is exactly what she was. For decades she fearlessly advocated for equal rights and the end to slavery, even in the face of violence and unpopularity. She was able to take her voice where few women had gone before, and keep going after that. Lucretia was able to lead a life that many women after her hoped to live, one where she practiced what she preached with determination and kindness.

Celebrating Women’s History

By Elise Wantling

March is National Women’s History Month, a time for focusing on the rich history of women here in the United States and around the world. This year’s celebrations are particularly special because this year, 2020, marks 100 years since the passage of the 19th amendment which officially granted some women the right to vote in elections in the United States (it wasn’t until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed racial discrimination in voting, that all women were granted the right to vote). Here at the Women’s Center, we are hoping to use our platforms this Women’s History Month to uplift lesser-known or often forgotten women of the revolution. My personal goal as the social media intern and head of the Women’s History Month programming is to teach you about at least one new event or woman of history that you did not know about prior to this month.

For example, did you know the first female mayor was elected more than 30 years before women were legally allowed to vote in elections? Her name was Susanna M. Salter, and not only was she the first female mayor, but also the one of the first women in the US to hold any form of elected office. She was elected mayor of her small town in Kansas in 1887. A group of men trying to undermine the women’s rights movement put her on the ballot as a prank.  But upon finding out she was on the ballot, she said she would accept the duty if elected. She won and served for a year, before choosing not to seek re-election.

Then there is Shirley Chisolm, another barrier-breaking woman I feel does not get enough recognition. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to Congress. She also put in a serious bid to run for President of the United States, making her the first black candidate to represent a major party in the Presidential race and the first woman to run for president on behalf of the Democratic party. In 2015 she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we will be holding a whole week of trivia on our Facebook and Instagram from March 9th to March 13th. Each day we will post a new trivia question and whoever answers correctly will be entered into a daily drawing for a prize. Then, on Wednesday, March 11th, we will have a trivia table in Royall Hall, where we will be asking trivia questions and offering prizes to those who answer correctly. The trivia table will be from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm, so come on out and join us!

Harvey Weinstein: A Man Who Went From Greatness to Rapist

By Maggie Pool

Trigger warning: mentions of sexual assault and rape.

Harvey Weinstein is a famous former Hollywood film producer and a convicted sex offender. How did he end up with those two descriptions in the first line of his Wikipedia page?

Harvey and his brother grew up with a passion for films. They didn’t start off in the film business, though. They began by producing rock concerts along with their friend Corky Burger as Harvey & Corky Productions through the 1970s. They brought in top-notch acts like Frank Sinatra, Jackson Browne, and The Rolling Stones. Using the money made from their days as Harvey & Corky Productions, the Weinstein brothers purchased their own independent film distribution company and called it Miramax, a mashup of their parents’ names, Miriam and Max Weinstein.

Now, Miramax is a renowned company for producing many of America’s prized independent films, like  Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989), The Crying Game (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Heavenly Creatures (1994), Flirting with Disaster (1996), and Shakespeare in Love (1998). Weinstein won many awards for these films, including an Academy Award for producing Shakespeare in Love. He also went on to succeed in producing arthouse cinema and more independent film. Miramax had so much success that in 1993 Disney offered to purchase the company from Weinstein for $80 million dollars. So where did it all go wrong?

In 2017, a new movement set the nation on fire. The #MeToo Movement united women in telling their stories of sexual harassment. Over a dozen women accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and rape. Once these accusations took hold of the media, Weinstein was fired from his production company, expelled from the Academy, suspended from the British Academy, and denounced by several political figures who previously supported him.

Weinstein was formally charged by New York police with “rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct for incidents involving two separate women” on May 25, 2018. A jury convicted Weinstein on February 24, 2020 of criminal sexual assault in the first degree and one count of rape in the third degree. Weinstein faces between 5 to 29 years of prison.

Mimi Haleyi, who testified at the weeks-long trial that Weinstein forced oral sex on her in 2006, was in a coffee shop when she heard the verdict. She said to Good Morning America, “I just sat down, and I started crying, and I had to go out into the street because I didn’t want to be crying in a coffee shop,” she said. “It was just a huge sense of relief – relief that the jury got it; that they believed me and that I was heard.”

Here are some statements from other victims of Harvey Weinstein, and supporters of those victims, after his conviction:

“He will forever be guilty.”

-Tarana Burke

“This is what he has created for himself, prison, lack of remorse, lack of accountability.”

-Ashley Judd

“Every day that I live and enjoy my life is a victory over Harvey.”

-Rowena Chiu

“I did it for all of us. I did it for the women who couldn’t testify. I couldn’t not do it.”

-Dawn Dunning

“It’s time for men who witness bad behavior to have the courage to step up and bear witness to it.”

-Irwin Reiter

“Hopefully this gives more women the strength to come forward.”

-Lucia Evans

Operation Beautiful: How We Can Be More Body Positive To Others

By Haley Dean

When we think of being body positive, we often think about ourselves. However, being body positive towards others is just as important. With body image disorders and eating disorders being as common as they are, often times people say things without even realizing that it can be hurtful towards others. So, how can we be body positive to not only ourselves, but others, too?

The first thing you can is shut down other’s negative comments. Whether it’s on social media or in person, and whether or not they are aware that they are saying something negative, be the person to tell them that what they are saying is hurtful. Let them know how to be more positive. For a general rule of thumb, not commenting on physical aspects is the way to go. Instead of commenting on physical aspects, keep comments more general. For example, “That skirt looks great on you!”, or “I love your lipstick!” Another thing to keep in mind is to not comment on other people’s food. If they are eating, if they aren’t eating, what they are eating, etc. It’s usually better to not make any comment about it. You never know what little thing you say could affect somebody.

And then, there’s skinny shaming. Not cool. While you may think that commenting on somebody’s thinness can’t be an insult, it can be. Telling somebody “you need to eat a cheeseburger”, or “you need some more meat on your bones”, is still body shaming, even though it’s not fat shaming. Fat shaming and skinny shaming can both be hurtful towards others. Some people may struggle to gain weight, while others may struggle to lose weight. It doesn’t matter your size; how big, how small, it can still be hurtful. To be safe, don’t comment on somebody’s size. Again, back to the general terms when complimenting others.

Remember, everybody is beautiful. Be conscious of what you say about others, stop the negative comments, and always spread positivity.

Help us spread positivity on campus by participating in the Operation Beautiful Events!

Make shrink art and post sticky notes around campus with body positive sayings on them!

Crafty Feminist Afternoon at the Women’s Center: Tuesday, March 3, 12:00-2:00 pm. Haag Hall Room 105.

Operation Beautiful Information Table: Thursday March 5, 11:00-1:00 pm. Royall Hall 1st Floor Lobby.

Roo Up, Woman Up

By Shanakay Osbourne

For this semester, the Women’s Center partnered with the UMKC Athletics for tabling events. The purpose of the Roo Up with the Women’s Center event was to promote the KC Roos Women’s Basketball games. On behalf of the Women’s Center we reached out to individuals by introducing them to the services we provide and our mission to educate, support, and advocate for women. During the event we gave away free items such as Roo up buttons and free pens. 

 

I believe that partnership with others is essential to creating successful and effective programs. Groups work together as a team to plan and implement ideas for events. Collaborating with others allow for networking opportunities. Not only are you able to work with others, you can also learn about the resources that they use and what helps them to be successful when putting on events. Partnerships also promote support. Student organizations and departments can support each other’s events. Also, you will be able to reach a larger audience to promote them. 

 

For me, the event was a great experience. I had the opportunity to learn more about UMKC Athletics. I also met other UMKC students and faculty. Interacting with others allows me to inform individuals about the Women’s Center and build a rapport. Participating in the events helped me to improve on leadership skills, communications skill, and practice teamwork.  

 

One advice that I would give to others is to get involved on campus. I know as students it can be difficult to maintain a work-life balance when you have school, work, and extracurricular activities. Participating in campus events allow individuals to know about the resources that they have available to them. In addition to getting free stuff, you get to meet new people and develop networking skills. Most importantly, you will be able to educate others about what you learned and refer them to resources here on campus.