Gender Equity Elusive in College Sports

With March Madness just around the bend, it’s worth returning to an intractable issue facing collegiate athletics: the disparity in opportunity between men and women.

Still – 44 years after the enactment of Title IX – women receive the short straw when it comes to college sports. Each year, men receive $190 million more in athletic scholarships than women. Overall, there are approximately 63,000 fewer participation slots for women in college-level sports. This great difference is in part influenced by the fact that female high school students possess 1.3 million fewer opportunities to play sports than their male counterparts.

As Kelly Wallace points out at CNN, these discrepancies exist regardless of the great feats accomplished by women athletes. Last year, the Princeton women’s basketball team beat the previous most winning college season ever held by the 1970-71 Penn men’s team, winning 30 games and losing zero during the regular season. Combine this with the continued dominance of US women in international tennis and the cultural cache of the highly successful US women’s soccer team, and the fact that institutions (especially those that are publicly funded) are still doing so little to promote and foster women’s athletics is both head-scratching and evidence of a biased system.

The Women’s Sports Foundation – a nonprofit organization – runs a variety of programs aimed at improving the state of gender equity in sports, ranging from wellness programs to get sedentary youth into physical activity to advocacy campaigns to increase the share of women employed by the sports industry. If you are disconcerted at the ongoing disparity in opportunity between men and women in sports (or interested in giving back during this Women’s History Month), consider contributing to this laudable organization.

You can also make a difference by tuning in – the more public support that women’s athletics attract, the harder it will be for detractors to argue for continuing the glaring inequality that currently exists.

Columbus Planned Parenthood Clinic Attacked

In recognition of Women’s History Month, Key Elements Group has covered issues facing women and the nonprofits that fight for greater gender equality.

This past year has seen an upsurge in violence directed toward nonprofit professionals working with and for women, especially those employed by the nonprofit health organization Planned Parenthood. In November of 2015, a gunman stormed one of the nonprofit’s clinics located in Colorado Springs, killing three. In the months of July and August 2015 alone, there were 849 acts of vandalism committed against Planned Parenthood clinics across the United States.

Much of the vitriol directed against the organization  – which provides invaluable health services to underserved women, including cancer screenings – stems from the exaggerated discourse revolving around its services. Though abortion accounts for a small fraction of the organization’s work, antichoice activists have reduced Planned Parenthood to this one particular service. The widely discredited video series released by the Center for Medical Progress (which recently came under investigation in Texas), were catalysts for violent acts directed toward Planned Parenthood. The Colorado gunman cited the heavily edited and doctored video as a primary inspiration for his murders.

Recent non-violent actions by antichoice activists and legislators have also stoked angry sentiment against the organization. As we discussed in a post yesterday, laws across the nation are effectively shutting down nonprofit clinics that provide safe access to abortions.

Governor John Kasich of Ohio recently signed a bill defunding Planned Parenthood at the behest of antichoice voices in his home state, and we are already seeing the effects.

A clinic run by the organization in Columbus, Ohio was defaced with the phrase “SATAN DEN OF BABYKILLERS GOD SEE ALLLL (sic) Mark 9:14” written in red lettering. The timing is certainly no coincidence. As the women’s health nonprofit was targeted by lawmakers due to dubious accusations, vigilante action followed course, further endangering the lives of workers who go out on the line for women on a daily basis.

The danger posed to Planned Parenthood and its staff across the country is a reminder of the courage of many nonprofit workers fighting at the margins for greater equality and better lives for the disenfranchised.

Anti-Choice Laws Spur Backchannel Abortions

(Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson)

A haunting trend has emerged in Google search behavior among U.S. citizens, indicating the effects of anti-choice legislation sweeping across the country in recent years.

In an op-ed for The New York Times, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz discusses an alarming uptick in search queries for alternative means to terminate pregnancies.

The state with the highest search rate for backchannel abortion methods is Mississippi, the state with perhaps the most stringent anti-choice legislation in the books. State lawmakers have passed measures that place onerous requirements on abortion clinics, raising near-insurmountable bureaucratic and financial hurdles that effectively drive them out of operation. The state has one remaining clinic, which could face closure in a case before the supreme court.

Mississippi officials state that the anti-choice law is “medically legitimate health and safety regulation,” which arose from “highly publicized reports of deaths and injuries involving abortion facilities across the country that raised serious doubts as to the safety of women undergoing abortion procedures.”

Research has proven that women are 14 times more likely to die from childbirth.

In the op-ed, Stephens-Davidowitz breaks down the list of search phrases – beginning with seemingly more benign queries including “buy abortion pills online” and “free abortion pills,” and entering decidedly more harrowing territory.

“How to self-abort,” “how to have a miscarriage,” and “how to do a coat hanger abortion” are increasingly common search phrases.

Mississippi is by no means alone. Texas is party to another supreme court case that calls into question the constitutionality of similiar legislation that has shuttered all but a handful of clinics across the state, the second most populous in the nation. Other states have gone after women’s healthcare provides such as Planned Parenthood, which was recently defunded at the sate-level in Ohio through anti-choice legislation signed into law by  Governor John Kasich.

Planned Parenthood has become target number one for anti-choice activists, most evidently in the widely discredited, heavily doctored videos disseminated by the organization Center for Medical Progress, which is now under investigation for its libelous actions.

As nonprofits and fundraisers respond to these threats to women’s healthcare and basic rights, Key Elements Group will provide ongoing coverage.

Victories for Equality: Women on Currency

(An artist’s rendering of a $20 bill featuring abolitionist Harriet Tubman, winner of the Women on 20s poll)

In honor of Women’s History Month, Key Elements Group will look at women and organizations that have helped advance the cause for greater equality.

This year, one women’s rights organization oversaw a big victory, getting women on one very public domain hitherto dominated almost exclusively by men: U.S. currency.

Women on 20s – a  501(c)3 nonprofit – has run a wildly popular grassroots campaign to encourage the U.S. Treasury Department to print an important female figure from U.S. history on the $20 bill. The group excelled in garnering press. From The Atlantic to NPR, news outlets picked up on Women on 20s’ unique and well-articulated mission, spurred in part by the wide-sweeping participation in online polling that the group inspired.

Founder Barbara Ortiz Howard sat down for an interview with Key Elements Group last year, in which she discussed her own inspiration for beginning and running a nonprofit dedicated to gender equality:

For me, having role models of great women in our daily lives is important to helping us all conquer stereotypes that limit our perspectives. Seeing women who exemplify the best of who we can be is at once uplifting and inspiring for everyone. Imagine if we were all inspired to be our best selves.

In June 2015, the Obama Administration announced that a woman will appear on the $10 bill in 2020. Scheduled for the hundredth anniversary of women’s right to vote, the actualization of the bill reflects Ortiz Horward and her colleagues’ hard work raising awareness of this glaring discrepancy in gender representation.

The last time that a women appeared on paper currency in the United States was in the late 1800s, when Martha Washington’s likeness was emblazoned on a silver-dollar certificate.

Key Elements Group will continue to provide snapshots of change makers and groundbreaking nonprofit work for gender equality throughout the month.

PricingPrivacy PolicyRefund Policy