Tennis, an industry leader in gender pay equity, does a grand disservice to women when it continues to have them play fewer number of sets than the men in their premiere events. The tradition perpetuates offensive beliefs about women being the weaker sex and reinforces repressive ideals of what is feminine — slender as opposed to powerful, glowing as opposed to sweat-drenched.
Fans greeted her with lewd signs, drivers threatened a boycott and journalists peppered her with hard-hitting questions like whether she wore makeup or if she worried her purse would get in the way of the steering wheel. This was the reception Janet Guthrie received when she first arrived at Indianapolis Motor Speedway 43 years ago. “The truth is until I got there, I had no idea that hostility toward women in men’s fields ran that deep,” Guthrie said. “I had been working and playing in men’s fields my whole life and never encountered it.”
The crew of Fire Island Ferries Inc. is often composed entirely of female captains and deckhands, bucking expectations in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Women make up about a third of the ferry’s summer staff of 200 and, depending on how employee shifts work out, frequently run boats without any male crew members. “It’s showing times are changing and girls can do what they want,” said Morgan Mooney, 30, of Bay Shore, one of the company’s four female captains. “Girls work just as hard, if not harder. It’s not to prove anything. It’s just how we are.”
Congressional candidate Liuba Grechen Shirley, who is running in a Democratic primary to face Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), has asked the Federal Election Commission for an advisory opinion about whether she can use campaign funds for childcare. “I wanted to set a precedent so mothers and fathers of small children can run for office even if they’re not independently wealthy,” explained candidate Grechen Shirley. She said the babysitter is “just as essential to the campaign as our campaign manager or finance director.”
Nine out of 10 women’s basketball coaches in the Big East are men. And while that might be an extreme case, the dwindling number of women’s coaches is a major concern among women’s sports advocates. While more women play college sports than ever before, only 38.8 percent of NCAA Division I women’s teams have a female head coach,[/DROPCAP] according to NCAA figures. By contrast, in 1972, when the gender equity law known as Title IX was enacted, more than 90 percent of women’s teams had a female coach.
Girls who played last year, like Bay Shore High School linebacker Cayleigh Kunnmann, have noticed a subtle shift. There will always be detractors, or those who think the sport is no place for a girl, they said, but that seems to be becoming less of a deterrent for female athletes. “I think a lot of girls are seeing, not only women in football, but women in all of kinds of male-dominated fields and just gaining a lot more confidence and knowing that they can do it,” said Kunnmann, a senior.