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16. Equity & Equality pt. 3 - About Gender Presentation

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Hey all, today is Tuesday January 19 2021. Yesterday was the National Observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the only national holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.

It is a time to remember the injustices that Dr. King fought. A time to remember his fight for the freedom, equality, equity, and dignity of all races and peoples through nonviolence.

My how far we’ve come! Although to be fair, in some areas of our society, we have come a long way. In others, not as much as you would think or want. For example, in terms of medicine and technology, we’ve come very far since the time of Martin Luther King Jr. In terms of equal or fair access to medicine and technology, not so much.

In terms of education, we’ve come a very long way! In terms of equal and equitable access to a free and appropriate education, not so much. Did you know that in our district alone, we still have a segregated academic track called HCC. Let’s move on to our talk about sports.

Title Athletic programs are considered educational programs and activities. Title IX gives women athletes the right to equal opportunity, in sports, that are part of educational institutions that receive federal funds, from elementary schools to colleges and universities.

Title IX does not require equal spending of funds on male and female athletes. The only dollar for dollar expenditure requirement is in the athletic financial assistance area, where schools are required to spend dollars proportional to participation rates.

On June 23, 1972, Title 9 of the education amendments of 1972 was enacted into law. Title 9 doesn’t allow federally funded educational institutions to discriminate against students or employees based on gender presentation. It begins: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

As a result of Title IX, any school that receives any federal money, all the way from the elementary to university level–in short, nearly all schools–must provide fair and equal treatment regardless of gender presentation, in all areas, including athletics. But again, that didn’t happen until 1972, which means, before that time it was quote unquote “normal” for schools to not provide the same chance for girls to participate in sports.

So, things are definitely better now than they were, but when we're learning about equity and equality, let’s stick with sports a bit longer. In particular, let’s think about World Cup level soccer. And let’s think about the United States National Teams, the WNT and MNT. That’s Women’s National Team and Men’s National Team.

When it comes to equal pay the United States Soccer Federation is a great place to start. The USSF says that the WNT receive a higher base salary than the MNT. They also acknowledge that the WNT has a benefit system. However, the USSF also acknowledges that the MNT players make more per game for playing for the USA then the WNT players. They also acknowledge a great per game bonus system for the men. The USSF also acknowledges that the MNT generates more revenue than the WNT. They also acknowledge that the WNT has won 3 World Cup Championships whereas the MNT have won zero.

The USSF will not discuss the details of the salary packages publicly and acknowledge that each team negotiates its contract separately. There was a lawsuit making its way to the supreme court, but it was dismissed by a judge in May. However, WNT star and OL Reign star Megan Rapinoe says they will never stop fighting for equality.

Which is what we are doing here, fighting for equality. And how? By learning about it. There is good reason for WNT players to doubt the fairness of the pay equality between both national soccer teams. And that is because, in the United States right now, on average, women are paid less than men, for the same work. The exact amount ranges across different social groups of women. For example, for every one dollar a white man makes for work, a white woman makes about 79 cents. A woman identified as black, makes about 62 cents for that dollar. A Latina/Hispanic woman makes about 54 cents to that dollar.

A women identified as Asian makes about 90 cents to the white man’s dollar and a native woman makes about 57 cents to that dollar. The average of those amounts come out to about 68 cents per dollar. Now, in order to fully understand more exact numbers you would need to have more data, in particular, you would need to know how many people are working. But, you can still get a clear picture that no group of women make as much, dollar to dollar as white men.

So, when we are learning about equity and equality we can learn a lot about our society by looking at how we pay folks and how we don’t. And what we pay for, and what we don’t. You can find insight into what a society values, based on what the society pays for and who they pay for it. And look, we are not making suggestions about how to solve these situations. Our job with social awareness is only to make you aware of it. Your job with self-awareness is to check in with yourself about how what you think about this, what emotion information you experience about this, how you want to express yourself about this, and how you can express yourself about this.

We can learn to see the devices that control the way we behave in both our economy and in our behavior. The devices we have that give us guidance on how we act are all tools of social management. The way we choose to act within these social management devices, the deal with our emotion information and the way we choose to behave are self-management. We can all learn to see ourselves as doing better and succeeding at many things. That’s called self-efficacy.

The last step in our learning is on social engagement. That is the set of SEL skills that allows people to work for change. To know where, and how, to make things better for themselves and others, in their community and communities.

Learning about equity or fairness and equality or sameness, is a way into learning about so much more about ourselves and the communities we live in and work with. But the first question we asked this month is still out there. What happens when in order to be fair, things are not equal. Or what happens when things are equal, but unfair. This is something we have to look at.

So, next week, let’s look at exactly that. How sometimes fair is unequal and sometimes unequal is fair. Until next week, may your thoughts and feelings be with you.

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