representation matters

Serena Williams is a Bad Ass...oh and by the way she is also a woman...GASP

Excuse my language in the title of this post but is there really any other way to describe Serena Williams? 

uh, no there isn't

Recently, after winning the Wimbledon semi-finals in July, Serena Williams was interviewed at a press conference. During which gender came into the dialog, as it often does. One question asked, if she felt it was fair for women to get paid the same as men, if the matches were shorter....So you earn less for being better?

uh, what? no.

I wish I could say it ended there, it didn't. Here is the question that many have been talking about ever since. One, because it was dumb, two because, well Serena schooled the reporter in the most polite and yes bad ass way ever.

REPORTER:

"There will be talk of you going down as one of the greatest female athletes of all time. What do you think when you hear something like that?"

Serena, never one to back away from the conversation of gender in sport responded quickly as if there wasn't even a question how she should respond which makes sense when you are the best of the best.

SERENA:

"I prefer the word 'one of the greatest athletes' of all time."

uh, yeah because you are a bad ass, Serena


Then, this week another reporter was talking to 2 time Olympic Gold Medalist, Andy Murray when a reporter, John Inverdale asked the following:

REPORTER:

"You're the first person ever to win two Olympic tennis gold medals. That's an extraordinary feat, isn't it?"

ANDY:

"Umm," Murray said. "Well."

He was indeed the first modern tennis player to successfully defend the singles title at the Olympics, he noted.

But "I think Venus and Serena have won about four [gold medals] each,"

uh, now I kinda heart Andy Murray

I am not quite sure why it seems so hard for people in the media to give female athletes credit for their successes. It isn't just Serena who experiences this either. 

Check out this headline that was tweeted out as an example of how we treat athletes different based on their gender.

Uh, I think they are missing the boat on the real story here

Uh, I think they are missing the boat on the real story here

I realize that not everybody sees this as an issue. When I brought the subject up around some friends and co-workers (outside of the sports industry) the response was less enthusiastic. Few people said anything negative but many questioned why it matters.

It matters because it isn't just the media attention or respect that is unbalanced. It is also the pay. While you may not directly care about how much one super star athlete gets paid vs. the next, it trickles down.

It is widely known that female athletes do not get paid at the same level of their male counterparts.

In almost every single sport women earn considerably less than their male counterparts. Women are supplementing this lack of equal pay with endorsement deals which is misleading when you just compare total salaries against their male counterparts, if you take endorsements the gap in pay is much larger.

so, why do people get paid what they do? Arguments for the gap include; overall fan base, game attendance, tv endorsement deals and in general the amount of money generated by the sport. That doesn't tell the whole story though, as many female sports haven't been given the same options and support in the way of promotion etc.

So why focus on sports, when we know that on average women as a whole make somewhere on average of 72 cents to every dollar a man makes in this country?

Exposure & Transparency

Plain and simple. The women fighting for equality at these higher dollar levels brings about exposure to the overall issue of a gender bias and the gender pay gap. This is an important part of the process for change.

In less exposed industries, like a call center for example, the worker is less likely to know for sure what her counterpart make vs. herself and even if they do find out many companies attempt to say that it is illegal or against the rules to discuss salary among your peers and people fear retribution for rocking the boat. Serena isn't worried about rocking the boat. Tennis doesn't want to lose her. Say what you will but what she has done to elevate the sport of tennis in viewership, endorsement and pure love of the game, has probably generated more revenue to the actual sport than any other athlete in recent memory.

It is easier to ignore the call center operator, but you aren't ignoring Serena Williams.

How can Serena Help Us?

In a world where there is still a long way to go regarding gender and the gender pay gap there are signs of progress.,.well kind of. For starters most women in today's world make more than women have ever made in the past. We make more than our mothers and our grandmothers. Slightly misleading since many of our mothers and grandmothers didn't actually work but it still is important to note. Women account for 80% of all buying decisions in this country. Important to note for a number of reasons:

we are more educated than ever - not just in general but with regards to our finances

We have the majority stake and say in family buying decision - as the caretakers for children, and family members, we are calling the shots in every day life. 

It's time we get the respect we deserve for that and if Serena, women like her and even awesome men like Andy Murray continue to point out the discrepancies and demand better it helps us all.

Further proof of Serena's bad-assness....this little girl here...

For more information on the gender pay gap in sports, check out the infographic below:

SOURCE:  http://sportsmanagement.adelphi.edu/resources/infographics/a-look-at-male-and-female-professional-athlete-salaries/

SOURCE: http://sportsmanagement.adelphi.edu/resources/infographics/a-look-at-male-and-female-professional-athlete-salaries/

weight of a moment - why #imwithher matters

When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.”
— Hillary Clinton

Last week, our nation experienced a historic moment. Much has been said about this moment, both positive and negative. Me being me, I would like to focus on the positive. The positive is simple.

96 years ago on August 18th the 19th amendment was ratified. This amendment gave women their unalienable right to vote in the United States of America.1

California delegates hold up signs as they cheer for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Thursday, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)   THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SOURCE:  http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2016-07-28/ap-explains-long-history-of-women-running-for-president

California delegates hold up signs as they cheer for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Thursday, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SOURCE: http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2016-07-28/ap-explains-long-history-of-women-running-for-president

Less than 100 years ago, women like myself were unable to take a stand and vote in this, our progressive country that promises equality for all. Now, anyone who has a television, computer, phone or is just reading the good old fashioned newspaper knows that this country hasn’t exactly lived up to its “equality for all” promise. Those same media outlets I mentioned about will probably offer varying opinions on the validity of my statement and I am not here to start an argument or debate with any one.

I am here to say that many women have used their voice, intelligence and strength of character to get us to this moment. The excitement of the first women receiving the honor of being a major political party nominee for the office of the President of the United States is just that, exciting.

I realized the other day, however that the weight of this moment might not fully be understood by everyone because for some reason, the concept of representation isn't understood. 

representation matters

It matters because despite having faith, too often in a culture that has at your fingertips accessibility to just about everything, seeing is believing.

For much of the last two centuries, every sitting United States President has represented one basic group. Caucasian and privilege. While this does not automatically mean that they do not have the good of the people in mind as they enact laws and regulations for this country, it certainly does provide some distance from some of our countries most glaring problems and inconsistencies. 

When Barack Obama used the slogan "Yes We Can" as part of his platform for election, it resonated because it involved inclusion and an understanding of the plight of people beyond just the status quo.  Millions of citizens who had been denied the right to vote based on their race were able to not visualize change for themselves. They could see someone "just like them" rise to the highest office in this country. That means something. 

We have seen and heard it time and time again in the world of media, where people saw someone that looked like them and realized that there was possibility out there. So, why not in politics?

Well, that same concept was realized last week as Hillary Clinton accepted a major parties nomination to be their candidate for the United States of America. Young girls and women were able to see for the first time something amazing...

possibility

The possibility that change can indeed happen, even at the highest levels of bureaucracy.  This change is not without its challenges. Just look at the questions and media attention that surround this female candidate opposed to her male counterparts thought the entire run thus far. Look at the amount of free air time given to her opponent (understandably, this is for soundbites, just as much as gender bias). So much free air time in fact that her opponent, has needed to do little to know actual campaign ads, in contrast with record spending for Hillary to get her message out to the people.

But, as with any trailblazers, you get burned quite a bit setting a new path. With each ditch, burn and road block, you get up, you start again. Because of her, other women have this possibility. Because of women before Hillary, like Victoria WoodHull (1872), Gracie Allen (1940), Shirley Chisholm (1972), Linda Jenness (1972) and Jill Stein (2012) who all ran for president to varying degrees of success, Hillary saw the possibility. 

These images came from various sources on line and are not my own. For an article detailing the ladies who fought before this election, checkout this great article from    Time Magazine: 5 Other Women Who Ran For President  or checkout each of their names above to be redirected to some background info on each one of them

These images came from various sources on line and are not my own. For an article detailing the ladies who fought before this election, checkout this great article from Time Magazine: 5 Other Women Who Ran For President or checkout each of their names above to be redirected to some background info on each one of them

These were not the only women to blaze a trail towards the most coveted office of the land. Here is a list of others who also ran for the office of President of the United States and put a crack or two into the ceiling. (SOURCE:)

cracks in the ceiling

Victoria Woodhull (1872)

Belva Lockwood (1884, 1888)

Laura Clay (1920) 

Gracie Allen (1940) 

Margaret Chase Smith (1964)

Charlene Mitchell (1968)

Shirley Chisholm (1972)

Linda Jenness (1972)

Patsy Takemoto Mink (1972)

Evelyn Reed (1972)

Ellen McCormack (1976, 1980)

Margaret Wright (1976)

Deidre Griswold (1980)

Sonia Johnson (1984)

Gabrielle Holmes (1984)

Isabelle Masters (1984, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004)

Patricia Schroeder (1988)

Lenora Fulani (1988, 1992)

Willa Kenoyer (1988)

Gloria E. LaRiva (1992)

Susan Block (1992)

Helen Halyard (1992)

Millie Howard (1992, 1996)

Monica Moorehead (1996, 2000)

Marsha Feinland (1996)

Mary Cal Hollis (1996)

Heather Anne Harder (`1996)

Elvena E. Lloyd-Deffie (1996)

Gerogina H. Doerschuck (1996)

Susan Gail Ducey (1996)

Ann Jennings (1996)

Diane Beall Templin (1996)

Joanne Jorgensen (1996)

Elizabeth Dole (2000)

Cathy Gordon Brown (2000)

Carol Moseley Braun (2004)

Hillary Rodham Clinton (2008, 2016)

Cynthia McKinney (2008)

Michelle Bachmann (2012)

Peta Lindsay (2012)

Jill Stein (2012)

Roseanne Barr (2012)

Carly Forinia (2016)


As I was researching items for this post and watching the Democratic National Convention I noticed an awesome hashtag #centenariansforclinton. It was awesome, because it was mainly being promoted by women over the age of 100. This mean that these women, born when it was illegal for them to vote can potential see the possibility of a woman in office before the end of their life. I dare anyone to tell these women that representation doesn't matter.

SOURCE: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/meet-jerry-emmett-arizonas-102-year-old-honorary-delegate-to-the-democratic-national-convention-8472872

SOURCE: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/meet-jerry-emmett-arizonas-102-year-old-honorary-delegate-to-the-democratic-national-convention-8472872

I surely didn’t plan to live past 100 years old,” she says. “When I did, and I saw all these things that were happening, it was like I had a shot in the arm.” She became even more enthusiastic about getting Democrats elected.
— Jerry Emmett, 102 year old Arizona Delegate
Ruline Steininger, 103 might have given my favorite quote (seen below)   I MAGE SOURCE: 

Ruline Steininger, 103 might have given my favorite quote (seen below) IMAGE SOURCE: 

After giving this problem much serious thought and consideration, I have come to the decision that I must live to do my part November 2016, I can die later!”
— Ruline Steininger, 103 years old

As for me, I am recognizing the moment and reflecting on the possibility.