Someone Call Elle Woods Cause I Need a Lawyer to Fight the Pink Tax

 

Source: Creative Commons, https://www.flickr.com/photos/30478819@N08/50531102396

By: Sierra Voorhies

We all know that there is a gender pay gap; women on average make 83 cents on the dollar that men make. This is worsened by intersections of ethnicity and gender. For example, black women make 63 cents to the white man’s 1-dollar, while Latino women make 55 cents to a white man’s 1-dollar. But did you know about the pink tax?

The pink tax refers to an increase in price for feminine or feminine coded items. So, this commonly refers to things like razors and soaps but can apply to anything from dry cleaning to tech accessories. For example, at Target right now 4 women’s triple blade disposable razors from the Up & Up brand is $3.89 but 8 men’s triple blade disposable razors by the same brand is $4.89.  So, for a man’s razor it’s 61 cents per unit, and for a women’s razor it’s 97 cents per unit. This might not seem like a large difference, but over a lifetime of every hygiene product, it costs a lot more to buy feminine hygiene items than masculine ones.

Now that we are familiar with the Pink Tax, let me introduce you to our Pink Tax Donation Drive, happening Saturday, February 12 at the 2:00pm in the Swinney Center! Come to the game and get a free button from us and donate some Pink Tax item(s)! Ideas for items are things like razors, shampoo, bodywash, deodorants, soaps and more- basically hygiene products. They don’t have to be feminine-coded, just items that the pink tax could affect. For example, get the larger and cheaper pack of razors labeled for “men” to donate instead of the smaller more costly pack pink razors labeled for “women” if you want to! These items will go to the UMKC Kangaroo Pantry and the game is free for students! To get a ticket go to https://kcroos.com.

 

Should Female Athletes Be Subject to Gender Testing?

By: Christina Terrell

Gender testing on female athletes has been around for some time now, however it has gone through phases. Gender testing happens to be the sex verification in sports, which grants eligibility for an athlete to compete in a sporting event that is limited to a single sex.

Back in the 90’s, it had been a mandatory and very extensive process. The gender testing process can involve evaluation by gynecologists, endocrinologists, psychologists, and internal medicine specialists. On a simple level, the athlete may be evaluated from their external appearances by experts. The athlete may also undergo blood tests to examine their sex hormones, genes and chromosomes. It was discovered that not all women have the standard female chromosomes, and this began to unfairly exclude some female athletes from competing in their sport.

In the year of 2009, mandatory gender testing resurfaced when Olympic cross-country runner, Caster Semenya won her race by more than just your typical two seconds. but she won the race by way more than two seconds. The public, along with race officials, began to talk, saying that it could be possible that Caster Semenya was really a man and should be disqualified. When Semenya went in for her gender testing, her results came back that she was “intersex”, meaning she possessed both male and female chromosomes. The tests were leaked to the public and the best day of her career turned into the worse day of her life.

Since the incident with Caster Semenya in 2009, the topic of gender testing and whether to make it mandatory or not has undergone many changes and discussions. As of 2018 the decision has been reached to mandate gender testing for females who solely compete in middle distance races of 400 meters to one mile. The reason for this being that these races require evaluations of speed, power, and endurance which are the components measured by the gender test and determine differences between females and males when it comes to testosterone levels. In the end, there are some people who feel this is fair and others who do not because women cannot help if their testosterone falls outside the range of what allows them to compete in the female categories. As a result, gender testing will continue to be an aspect of what females in the sports industry must rise above.

Serena Williams

By Matiara Huff

Picture of Serena Williams retrieved from CreativeCommons.org

Picture of Serena Williams retrieved from CreativeCommons.org

Serena Williams was born in Saginaw, Michigan on September 26, 1981. Basically, ever since then she has been playing Tennis. She has one 69 singles titles, 22 doubles titles, 21 grand slams, and 4 Olympic gold medals, as well as many other awards. She has been titled the greatest female tennis player of all-time, and the 3rd greatest of all-time total. She holds the most major singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles combined amongst active all players, and is the only person to have won singles titles at least six times in three of the four Grand Slam tournaments. Her records have made history, and her achievements have paved the way for more women of color to success.

Wonder Woman and Director of Athletics: Carla Wilson

by Amber Charleville

Earlier this semester, I had the privilege of sitting down with UMKC’s Director of Athletics, Carla Wilson. It was a true delight to talk with her about UMKC, the Athletics Department, and Feminism.

Ms. Wilson was appointed to Director of 5d633a50a247f483e8e38254012d84ffAthletics on December 2, 2013, but she’d been serving as interim director for five months prior to that, as well as being UMKC’s Senior Woman Administrator. She has a long history of service with UMKC, receiving her bachelor’s degree in accounting here in 1988 and working for the university ever since.

Of course, those are all facts anyone can snag from her official bio, but I wanted to really understand her roles and her vision for UMKC Athletics. Ms. Wilson shared with me that over the years she’s supervised 14 of the 16 sports at UMKC, overseen budgeting for the entire department, and sat on several committees around campus, including the Chancellor’s Advisory Board to the Women’s Center.

Listening to her story is truly inspiring. She has worked her way from an entry level university position to Director of Athletics, the only female athletics director in the Western Athletic Conference. She also explained that the title “Senior Woman Administrator” is not a specific position. It is a title held in addition to someone’s role within the senior staff of an athletics department.

“It came out of the fact that there were lots of men at the top, making all the decisions, and they wanted to make sure there was a viable counterpart, a female voice that was making sure the interest of all the students, the female athletes were taken into account. From female coaches getting equal pay and the needs of female students, making sure their needs were being met.”

If face, she explained that when the Athletics Director is a woman, she can either keep the Senior Woman Administrator designation, or she can appoint another female member of the staff to the role, giving two empowered female voices to the department. She intends to pass that designation on.

We also discussed some of Ms. Wilson’s goals for UMKC athletics. She has several, but I was thrilled to hear that her top priority is the well being of her student athletes. “Everything we need to do here should center around student athlete success.” You get the sense listening to Ms. Wilson that she cares very deeply for all of her students, male and female, and that she will always have their best interests at heart as she works to make UMKC’s athletics department truly great.

“Academics are first and foremost,” she says, stressing that the current cumulative GPA for the 224 student athletes is 3.24. And that’s not to leave behind athletic excellence, either. Her goal is to start in the top 1/3rd of the Western Athletics Conference and move up from there.

She also laid out the expectation that the student athletes support other campus activities beyond sports. We here at the Women’s Center know all about that as the Athletics Department sponsors the participation of all their athletes in our Walk-A-Mile fundraiser. (For more information on Walk-A-Mile, which is this May, please see here.)

Our conversation also covered the importance of having strong women role models (for both young women and men), Ms. Wilson’s approach to feminism, and her work with the Women’s Center.

“Being a woman, it is very important to me that women, whether they’re students or people in the community, that we are making sure that we are celebrating women who do great things, that we’re providing programming, that we’re making people aware of what’s going on.”

Overall, I could not have been more impressed and inspired by my conversation with Ms. Wilson. She cares deeply about the community, this university, and all the students in it, athletes and non-athletes alike. She understands that people might be watching her a little more closely, waiting for the first woman to be the Director of Athletics here at UMKC to underachieve. But I for one will be watching, knowing that she is going to do great things for our Athletics Department and this school in general.

Thank you again to Ms. Wilson and her staff for arranging this interview. It was an amazing opportunity.

 

All Girls are Winners: The Importance of Equity in Sports

By Devon White

Image from Flickr.com

Recently, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) launched a campaign to end the violation of Title IX. The NWLC filed discriminatory complaints with the Office for Civil Rights, “against twelve school districts across the country for failing to provide girls with equal opportunities to play sports, in violation of Title IX.” Title IX is a federal law enacted in 1972 that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded academic and athletic programs. The NWLC’s brief highlighted the benefits of sports, which include a decrease in health-related problems, higher self-esteem, and academic improvement amongst female athletes (PDF).

Female athletes are considered all around more successful according to recent research: “two studies suggest sports are the causal factor: girls who play sports are more likely to go to college, be employed, and grow up to be physically active, non-obese women. In one study, Dr. Betsey Stevenson found that more girls playing sports leads to more women in college and more women in the workforce.”

On December 8th, Blog to Rally for GirlsSports Day challenged bloggers to answer: What did you win by playing sports? A Change.org columnist reflected that being the sole female player on an all-male soccer team brought out her inner feminist. Another blogger shared the lessons she learned while playing team sports: “Sports taught me perseverance, resilience, healthy conditioning, self-reliance, teamwork, and most importantly, the love of being active.By writing or tweeting about their personal experiences, bloggers helped advocate and spread awareness about the importance and benefits of girls in sports.

Before Title IX, the participation level of high school girls and college women in sports was dismal. There has been considerable progress in women’s athletics since the 1960s, and secondwave feminism is largely to credit for that rise. But what about the generations of girls who still need access to equitable athletics that prior generations lacked?  African-American female athletes are experiencing double the obstacles–their gender and race: African-American females represent less than 5% of all high school athletes, less than 10% of all college athletes, less than 2% of all coaches and less than 1% of all college athletics administrators.

Campaigns like Rally for Girls’ Sports Day remind us to celebrate and advocate athletic participation in girls. Breaking down gender barriers in sports can help raise awareness on other key issues that affect girls and women on and off the field. If you want to get involved in advocating for girls in sports, check out:

WIN for KC

GoGirlGo!

Black Women in Sport Foundation

Women’s Sports Foundation

National Girls and Women in Sports Day

Reviving Baseball in the Inner City (RBI) at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City

ESPN Makes A Play For The Ladies

By Emily Mathis

ESPN has just recently launched a new blog called ESPNW for women. The blog will feature news about the WNBA, women’s college sports and of course news from the NBA and NFL. And before you ask: no pink will be in the color scheme of the blog.

So it seems that ESPN is trying to open up their base to include the multitude of sports viewers that are women. But is the blog really the answer?

I read an article about the new blog on the NY Times site and from the looks of it a lot of people are mixed on whether this is a step in the right direction. It seems some worry that it will create more segregation while others think that it will be an excuse for ESPN to not cover women’s sports, more so than they already do. According to the article only 8% of ESPN’s sports programming is devoted to women’s sports and last year only 1.4 % of Sport’s Center included women’s sports.

While some wonder if this blog is just a stepping stone for a new ESPN channel, I have to say that I agree that it might not be the best step for women’s sports. I think that if ESPN wants to cater to their female audience then they should simply give women in sports more airtime. Maybe ESPN just needs to stop thinking that ESPN is a boys’ club and recognize that women not only enjoy sports but play them too.

Is It Because They Are Athletes?

By Emily Mathis

I like sports as much as the next person. Well, okay so I most likely won’t watch football on Sunday  unless I’m at my parent’s house, but come the big exciting championship, I am there. And as anyone who knows me can attest as long as it’s hockey, I’m there. However, I have noticed a disturbing trend recently of male athletes who are accused of sexual assault or domestic violence. Not only are they getting away with it, but the media and a lot of sports fans turn the tables around and use victim-blaming as the main defense.

As much as it saddens me to bring this up, since my family is Spartans all the way, the worst case of this “free pass” for athletes lately happened at Michigan State University. According to reports, two male basketball players sexually assaulted a young woman at a party. The article states that even though one of the two players agreed with the victim’s account of what happened, no chargers are being issued.

This is not the first instance of athletes not getting charged or just receiving a “slap on the wrist”. This past year Ben Roethlisberger, the winning quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, was accused of rape. After the allegations, which were never prosecuted due to negligent investigating, Roethlisberger received a six game suspension that was taken down to a four game suspension for “good behavior.” In addition to the lack of seriousness afforded to the situation, Nike and others came to his defense.

Why is it that these athletes are able to get away with crimes that should be prosecuted? If it’s not victim-blaming techniques, the police don’t take the allegations seriously and don’t treat the players like other men, or for some reason the county or state’s attorneys decide there is “not enough evidence” to file charges.

In the case of the MSU players, I am really confused why no action is being taken. When one of the players corroborates the victim’s charges, shouldn’t that be a red flag that maybe a crime actually did take place?  And why wasn’t Roethlisberger’s case handled better? Maybe it’s like some of the other examples of sexual assault cases not being handled properly. But maybe it’s more than that.

Perhaps our society does give sports figures a “free pass”. I think that it’s a combination of sexual assault allegations not being handled the way they should and the fact that there is somewhat of a “boys will be boys” mentality when it comes to athletes. It seems that sometimes in our society there is a tendency to overlook bad behavior from star athletes precisely because people want to keep them in the winning column and you can’t do that if they are getting arrested or worse actually serving time in jail.

In addition to many people not wanting athletes to have to deal with the consequences of their actions, there seems to be the continuing problem of victim-blaming. There is the type of victim-blaming that is evident in the MSU allegations: they were at a party, the girl had been drinking, she went upstairs with them, etc, so obviously no crime could have been committed. These are classic victim-blaming mentalities. But what struck me about the Roethlisberger case and other high profile sexual assault cases, like the Kobe Bryant case, is that it seems there is a different type of victim-blaming that occurs and that is this idea that any girl would obviously want to have sex with a famous athlete and therefore these girls must being lying so they can get publicity and/or money. It would seem that it is too hard to imagine that a beloved figure like a quarterback for a Super Bowl winning team would actually rape women. But some people forget rape is not about sex or desire; it’s about power. So just because someone like Roethlisberger or Bryant probably has a lot of opportunity to have sex with a lot of women, it doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of rape.

As with so many aspects of how our society deals with sexual assault, this tendency for overlooking valid information as it pertains to athletes has got to stop. I am by no means saying that all athletes are perpetrating crimes and that none of them receive punishment. I am saying that it seems like if the crime in question is sexual assault, it tends to go unpunished. It seems like the struggle for understanding of what sexual assault and rape is still continues, not only in society, but in our law enforcement communities as well. But most importantly it seems some men need to understand that women need to be respected not violated.

Is Cheerleading a Sport? That is the Question…

Image from creativecheerleader.com

Recently a women’s volleyball team at Quinnipiac University was cut and replaced with a competitive cheerleading squad. The volleyball players sued the school saying that it was in violation of Title IX. This past week a Connecticut judge decided that the volleyball players were right because cheerleading is not a sport, therefore the University was in violation because it didn’t have equal funding for female sports.

This case brings a lot of good questions in to focus. Is cheerleading a sport? And if it is, is it fair to fund it and cut a female volleyball team? I have to say that if you had asked me a few years ago, I would have to say that cheerleading may have athletic attributes but is not nearly the sport that volleyball is. I doubt I would have been that nice about it either.

However, chalk it up to growing up and broadening my views, I would say that my opinion has changed. This past year I lived with a cheerleader. She was a freshman and had managed to nab a spot on our school’s squad. I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t have prevailing stereotypes about cheerleaders and cheerleading as a sport but my roommate helped me open my eyes to the fact that Bring It On got it wrong.

My roommate had a 4.0, didn’t like to party, and worked her butt off. Through her I met other cheerleaders who were tough, smart athletes. She talked about the 6 am practices, the cardio, the weight training, the dangerous tumbling, and the constant throws and tricks. It seemed like every week a new member of the squad suffered an injury, from concussions to broken bones. These girls were tough.

So when I heard about the judge’s ruling that cheerleading was not a sport, I completely disagreed. Granted I was just as upset that volleyball was getting cut, since I used to play, but that doesn’t mean I think it was right that the court got to make a ruling about whether cheerleading is a sport or not.

Go to a competitive cheerleading event and I think you will change your mind. Not many people could do what those women and men do all the time.  In the end, in a happy world both the volleyball team and the competitive squad would get to stay on at the university, but apparently only one more female sport can stay and the University isn’t saying what women’s athletic team gets to stay. Makes you wonder if all this would happen if it was men’s golf and men’s lacrosse fighting it out for funding? Would they say that either of those wasn’t a sport?