Female students still face inequality

Ashley Stecker

For years, ideals of women have been put in place by society. Expected to be the ideal wife, giving up all hope to advance as men do in career paths, giving birth, being the caretaker and so much more: women balance all this, yet often receive no recognition. Since 1986 women have fought to get to their current standing in school, in the workplace and in athletics, but the battle is far from over.
Even teen girls struggle. Oct. 13, news emerged about a Dick’s Sporting Goods release of a new catalog featuring only male athletes. Twelve-year-old girls’ basketball player McKenna Peterson spoke out to Dick’s, quickly attracting attention from the media.
“There are NO girls in the catalog,” Peterson said in her letter to Dick’s Sporting Goods. “Oh, wait, sorry. There IS a girl in the catalog on page six, SITTING in the STANDS. Women are only mentioned once in the catalog on page five for some shoes. And there are cheerleaders on some coupons. It’s hard enough for girls to break through in this sport as it is, without you guys excluding us from your catalog.”
Peterson, a short time later, received an e-mail from the company, reassuring her that they are reviewing catalogs and in the future will make it a priority to better represent all athletes. Dick’s apologized to Peterson and thanked her for voicing her concerns.
Dick’s was wrong for not including women in their catalog but right for responding to Peterson’s letter. Did it even cross their minds that men were only featured in the catalog?
Taking gender equality a step further, schools should allow girls to try out for positions on boys’ sports team to promote the abilities of males and females as equals. Making sports like baseball and football accessible to girls would show society that just because you’re a girl doesn’t mean you can’t sack a quarterback or make a field goal or strike out the side. Ever heard of Mo’ne Davis?
Sports like basketball, tennis, lacrosse, track/cross country, etc. have a boys’ and girls’ team. Why not all others?
Tonya Fletcher a student of Cary-Grove High School in Illinois, crowned Homecoming Queen, plays starting place-kicker for the Trojans, becoming the first female to play varsity football in McHenry County. Fletcher made a difference by pushing her way into a male oriented sport.
Off the playing field, teens in school are working toward becoming educated for a future career. How detrimental would it be if female students were told that all their hard work would never be equal to others because they‘re not male?

In a professional setting, women are victims of unfair pay gaps. A woman equal to a man in position/rank is paid less. Women typically earn about 90 percent of what men are paid until the age of thirty-five.
After that, median earnings for women are typically 75–80 percent of what men receive, yet women are proven to do better in school. In fact, promoting gender equity in education and employment may be one of few policies that have been termed ‘win-win’ strategies. It would further economic prosperity and efficiency.
That would be something for teen girls to strive for as they mature in age, making it their goal to step into stereotypical male job positions like mathematics, mechanics, and engineering, just as they should in sports.
Yet, sexist roles have been pushed into the minds of society at a young age. Katha Pollitt published an article “Why Boys Don’t Play with Dolls,” describing gender behavior and parenting.
“Could it be that even sports-resistant moms see athletics as part of manliness? That if their sons wanted to spend the weekend writing up their diaries, or reading, or baking, they’d find it disturbing? Too anti-social? Too lonely? Too gay?” Pollitt said.
Men can bake, dance, wear pink, and write in a diary without it being a feminine action same as women can play football, play with toy trucks, lift weights and laugh at gross jokes. Society should not generalize and stereotype actions as being those of men or women.
Women are equal to men; it’ll just take time for society to adjust.