The U.S. Open tennis champion’s biracial identity is inconvenient in a racist narrative that turns Serena Williams into a stereotype.
‘Get the hell out of my race,’ a Boston Marathon official told a pioneering woman in 1967. At 70, she’s still in the race – LA Times
MAY 19, 2016
Muirfield Golf Club, the site of 16 British Opens and the source of the written Rules of Golf, dating to 1744, has been stripped of the right to host the major after voting against allowing female members.
Of the 616 members who voted, 397, or 64 percent, were in favor of the resolution. It fell 35 votes short of the two-thirds (432) of its 648 eligible voters to pass. Muirfield, run by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, is one of two clubs in the British Open rotation to exclude women. Royal Troon, site of this year’s event, is the other.
The American Phil Mickelson won the British Open the last time it was held at Muirfield, in 2013.
Reacting to the decision, Martin Slumbers, the chief executive of the Royal & Ancient, which organizes the British Open, said: “We have consistently said that it is a matter for the Honourable Company to conduct a review of its membership policy and that we would await their decision. The Open is one of the world’s great sporting events, and going forward we will not stage the Championship at a venue that does not admit women as members.”
He added, “If the policy at the club should change, we would reconsider Muirfield as a venue in future.”
The Scotsman revealed that a group of 30 memberscampaigned vigorously against the inclusion of female members. A letter distributed by the group among the membership cited concerns about slow play and making women “feel uncomfortable” as the downsides of admitting female members.
The letter added that the club was “quite unique with its fraternity built, inter alia, on foursomes play with a round taking only the same time as lunch and leaving enough time for a further round after lunch (even in midwinter). This is one of the miracles in modern-day play and is much admired. Our foursomes and speedy play would be endangered.”
Five key members of the United States women’s national soccer team, the reigning World Cup and Olympic champion, have filed a federal complaint charging U.S. Soccer with wage discrimination.
In the filing, the five players contend that the women’s team is the driving economic force for U.S. Soccer, the governing body for the sport in America, even as its players are paid far less than their counterparts on the men’s national team, said their lawyer, Jeffrey Kessler.
The players involved in the complaint are among the most prominent and decorated female athletes in the world: the co-captains Carli Lloyd and Becky Sauerbrunn, forward Alex Morgan, midfielder Megan Rapinoe and goalkeeper Hope Solo.
In their complaint — which was submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination, on Wednesday — the players requested an investigation of U.S. Soccer. But in taking official action, they also thrust their team into a debate roiling in several sports, notably professional tennis, about equal pay for men and women.
“We have been quite patient over the years with the belief that the federation would do the right thing and compensate us fairly,” Lloyd, the most valuable player of last year’s Women’s World Cup, said in a statement released by the players and Kessler.
Solo was more blunt in the statement, directly comparing the women’s achievements with those of the men’s national team.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Solo said. “We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships, and the U.S.M.N.T. get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.”
Citing budget figures released last month by U.S. Soccer, Kessler said the players contend that they earned as little as 40 percent of what players on the United States men’s national team earned even as they marched to the team’s third world championship last year, and that they were shortchanged on everything from bonuses and appearance fees to per diems.
“This is the strongest case of discrimination against women athletes in violation of law that I have ever seen,” Kessler said.
Though only five players signed the complaint, they said they were acting on behalf of the entire women’s team, saying they are all employees of U.S. Soccer through their national team contracts.
The filing of the complaint was the latest move in an increasingly contentious legal fight between U.S. Soccer and the women’s national team players, who are favored to repeat as Olympic champions at the Rio Games in August.
“While we have not seen this complaint and can’t comment on the specifics of it,” U.S. Soccer said in a statement, “we are disappointed about this action. We have been a world leader in women’s soccer and are proud of the commitment we have made to building the women’s game in the United States over the past 30 years.”
Women’s national team players have long grumbled about their pay, working conditions and travel and hotel arrangements, which the players contend are inferior to those given to the men’s national team despite the women’s far superior record. The men’s most notable achievement in the past half-century was a quarterfinal appearance at the 2002 World Cup.
The long-simmering feud between the women’s team and U.S. Soccer’s leadership boiled over after last summer’s Women’s World Cup. A match in Hawaii that was part of the team’s so-called victory tour was canceled when the players refused to play on an artificial-turf field they deemed unsafe. U.S. Soccer’s president, Sunil Gulati, later apologized for the situation.
Two months later, the disagreement veered into federal court when U.S. Soccer took the unusual step of filing a lawsuit against the national team’s players’ union as part of a dispute about the validity of the players’ collective bargaining agreement. The federation contends the agreement, which expired in 2012, lives on in a memorandum of understanding the sides signed in early 2013. The union contends it does not.
Video of Obama honoring U.S. Women’s Soccer Team:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will not deal with the larger issues in that fight, or in the bargaining talks, because it does not have jurisdiction, Kessler said. But by raising the issue of the compensation of the men’s national team, the women’s players may risk dividing the teams’ fan bases even as they put U.S. Soccer in a difficult position. The federation has collective bargaining agreements with both teams, but the financial terms differ widely.
The women’s players are salaried employees — the top players are paid about $72,000 a year by the federation — but they contend that even with that extra income, their bonus structure means they earn far less than their male counterparts, who receive money from U.S. Soccer only if they are called to the national team.
A men’s player, for example, receives $5,000 for a loss in a friendly match but as much as $17,625 for a win against a top opponent. A women’s player receives $1,350 for a similar match, but only if the United States wins; women’s players receive no bonuses for losses or ties.
Yet the women point to the television ratings for their matches and the crowds they draw as evidence that the disparity in federation pay is unfair.
The men and the women “have identical work requirements,” Kessler said. “The same number of minimum friendlies, the same requirements about participating and making the World Cup teams — identical work.
“But the women have without dispute vastly outperformed the men not just on the playing field but economically for the U.S.S.F. The women have generated all the money in comparison with the men.”
U.S. Soccer is expected to argue that the players’ pay is collectively bargained, and that the players agreed to all issues, including compensation and working conditions like whether the team must play on artificial turf or not. (The federation and the women’s players’ union are continuing discussions on compensation in a new collective bargaining agreement amid the current action.)
U.S. Soccer also receives substantially higher payouts from FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, for participation in the men’s World Cup. But the women’s complaint seems to take aim at a bigger share of domestic revenue, like sponsorships and television contracts.
Budget figures provided by U.S. Soccer at its annual general meeting in February showed a $20 million increase in national team revenue in 2015. The women’s players attributed that to their World Cup triumph and the subsequent multicity victory tour. U.S. Soccer is expecting another windfall this year; among its budget projections for 2016 is $2.3 million for another victory tour after the Olympics.
It is unclear how long it will take to resolve the complaint, but the process will almost certainly hover over the women team’s preparations for the Rio Games in August. If the E.E.O.C. rules for the players, it could seek relief on behalf of the entire women’s national team in the form of a negotiated settlement or side with the players in federal court, Kessler said. If the case is successful, it could force U.S. Soccer to surrender millions of dollars in back pay.
Opportunities for women to participate in sports have increased greatly in the more than 40 years since the passage of the gender-equity legislation known as Title IX. But financial parity has often lagged behind.
The N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament, which began in 1939, pays about $260,000 to a conference for each game a team plays in the tournament, the sports economist Andrew Zimbalist wrote recently in The New York Times. The winning team rakes in $1.56 million for its conference. By contrast, the N.C.A.A women’s tournament, which began in 1982, awards zero dollars for winning a game.
It could be argued that men’s sports deserve a financial edge because they are more popular, draw bigger crowds, generate far more money in ticket sales and corporate sponsorships. But that is not true for every sport. Women’s figure skating, for instance, has often drawn higher television ratings and bigger crowds than men’s figure skating.
And while women have often been dismissed internationally as soccer players — the men’s World Cup began in 1930 and the women’s not until 1991 — they have become the sport’s standard bearers in the United States.
It is the women’s team that has provided repeated success that has remained elusive for the American men. Not so long ago, perhaps the best known soccer player in the country was not a man but a woman, Mia Hamm. Even today, the United States is perceived by many around the world to be a predominantly female soccer culture.
When Hamm and her teammates won the 1999 World Cup in the United States, they set records for attendance and television viewing. Last summer, when the United States defeated Japan to win another Women’s World Cup, the final was seen by 25.4 million viewers on Fox — a record for a men’s or women’s soccer game on English-language television in this country.
AUTHOR: VERA JANUARY 3, 2015 3:44 PM
On Thursday, the University of Oregon football players celebrated a win against Florida state in the College Football Playoff semifinal. After the game, a few players took a break from rejoicing to make an important protest against sexual assault.
In this short clip uploaded to YouTube by the Associate Press, the Oregon players were recorded chanting “no means no,” replacing the words from a Florida State chant. These players were directing the chant at Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, who was accused of sexually assaulting a female student in 2012 and was never fully investigated or charged.
Winston’s alleged sexual assault has been a neverending controversy, as he was never officially charged and was allowed to continue on and win the Heisman Trophy. Just last month, Florida State cleared Winston of violating its student code of conduct, despite that fact that the university had not investigated the victim’s allegations thoroughly. According to the New York Times, “there was virtually no investigation at all.”
Unfortunately, the Oregon players who chanted “no means no” are going to be disciplined for what Oregon coach Mark Helfrich is calling “inappropriate behavior.” Helfrich said:
“We are aware of the inappropriate behavior in the postgame. This is not what our program stands for, and the student-athletes will be disciplined internally.”
For a sport that has been known to sweep violence against women under the rug, it’s a true shame that these players will be punished for bringing attention to sexual assault and its victims.
Feature image courtesy of that Associated Press (Screengrab).
NOW Calls for Roger Goodell’s Resignation, Appointment of Independent Investigator | National Organization for Women
The NFL has lost its way. It doesn’t have a Ray Rice problem; it has a violence against women problem.
According to FiveThirtyEight.com, the relative arrest rate of NFL players is fifty-five percent for domestic violence, and thirty-eight percent for sex offenses.
Days after announcing his new domestic violence policy, Goodell said Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers, who is facing a felony domestic violence charge, could play in the team’s season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
Greg Hardy is still playing for the Carolina Panthers, even after being convicted in July of choking his former girlfriend and threatening to kill her.
Goodell’s response to accusations that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sexually assaulted a woman has been: radio silence.
The only workable solution is for Roger Goodell to resign, and for his successor to appoint an independent investigator with full authority to gather factual data about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking within the NFL community, and to recommend real and lasting reforms.
The NFL sets the example for college, high school, middle school and even elementary school football programs. And the example it is setting right now is simply unacceptable.
New leadership must come in with a specific charge to transform the culture of violence against women that pervades the NFL.
That’s the only way to restore honor and integrity to the country’s most lucrative and popular pastime.
Elise Coletta , firstname.lastname@example.org , (951)547-1241
To sign the petition go to: http://action.now.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=10358&tag=ResignGoodellHP
POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 9, 2014 AT 10:43 AM
CREDIT: AP PHOTO/PATRICK SEMANSKY, FILE
The Baltimore Ravens may have have ended Ray Rice’s contract after the release of a surveillance video that depicted him punching his then-fiancee Janay Palmer, but for many people, the questions are just beginning.
Why would she take some of the blame? Why wouldn’t she just leave? Is she in it for the money?
Janay, who has since married Rice and taken his last name, has indicated that she regretsthe “role” she played in the now infamous incident. On Tuesday, she posted a statement on Instagram criticizing the unwanted attention from the public and declaring that “we will continue to grow & show the world what true love is.” Her decision to remain loyal to her husband has confused a lot of observers — including several Fox News hosts, who claimed that women like Janay and singer Rihanna are sending a “terrible message” by remaining with their abusive partners.
But, at the end of the day, domestic violence experts say that’s the wrong way to approach a very complicated issue.
“When we solely focus on whether a survivor stays with or leaves their abusive partner, we place all the responsibility on the survivor rather than holding an abusive partner accountable,” Chai Jindasurat, the programs coordinator for the Anti-Violence Project, told ThinkProgress. “Intimate partner violence is about power and control, and leaving can be an extremely dangerous and frightening option for survivors.”
In fact, according to research conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, the victims who leave their abusers are actually in even greater danger than they were before. Statistically, separating from an abuser increases a victim’s risk of being killed by 75 percent. Black women specifically account for a disproportionate number of intimate partner homicides, and half of these victims are killed while they’re in the process of leaving their abuser.
On top of the physical risk, there are countless other well-documented reasons why domestic violence victims struggle to break the cycle of abuse. Many of them are financially dependent on their abuser. They often have kids or other familial expectations to consider. Many victims don’t want the relationship to end; they want the violence to end, and their abuser has given them hope that it will. Women of color in particular may resist seeking legal protection because they’re more worried about how the police will treat their partnerthan they are about their own safety within the relationship.
Nonetheless, it’s hard for people to find sympathy for the victims who don’t leave. “The view that leaving is the answer to domestic violence is so strong that is has become the standards by which victims are judged,” noted a 2008 report produced by the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. “Leave and you are worthy of the full range of services and protection. Stay and the resources may be limited.”
That’s exactly what’s going on with the current reaction to Janay Rice — and, on top of that, the judgment about whether she’s a “real” victim is likely also being compounded by racial factors. The trope of the “strong black woman” may make outside observers more likely to assign her blame for playing a part in her abuse.
“I think there’s an expectation that if a black woman was hit, she either did something to cause it or she’ll be strong enough to leave,” Racine Henry, a therapist and doctoral candidate at Drexel University who focuses on intimate partner violence pertaining to black women, explained in an interview with the blog For Harriet this week. “It’s almost like we can’t be victims. We can’t be innocent victims in the way that women of other races can be.”
In response to those emerging narratives about Ray and Janay Rice, activists and survivors have taken to Twitter to explain the realities of domestic violence under the hashtags #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft. By Monday evening, both hashtags were trending nationally, helping to publicize powerful stories of violence and abuse from people who have personally experienced those type of relationships.
Beverly Gooden, herself a survivor of intimate partner violence, started #WhyIStayed because she wanted conversations about the Rices to stop oversimplifying the larger issue at hand. “I felt that people just don’t realize, asking ‘Why doesn’t she leave?’ is such a simple question for a very complex issue,” Gooden told the Washington Post.
As the National Network to End Domestic Violence points out on its site, “A better question is, Why does the abuser choose to abuse?”
If you need help, you can call the National Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
September 4, 2014 by Suzanne Petroni
As a former child athlete and now dedicated fan of women’s sports, I was riveted last month whenMo’Ne Davis pitched the Taney Dragons into Little League World Championship history (I was clearly not the only one; she now has more than 32,000 Twitter followers). Watching this 13-year-old girl demonstrate the confidence, poise and power that led The New York Times to call her “A Woman Among Boys” made me proud as hell that girls in our country have the opportunity to shine.
And while I recognize that Davis and her peers at her Philadelphia school still face many, many challenges on the road to true gender equality, I can’t help but think of the stark differences between these adolescent girls and those who face a far more dangerous fate across the world.
Fates like that of 13-year old Khadija, who escaped from the man she had been forced to marry, only to be returned to her Afghan village by police so that she could be brutally flogged for the
“crime” of running away from her husband.
Fates like those of the 14-year-old girl some of us at the International Center for Research on Women spoke with in northern Uganda, who was forced to drop out of school because her parents were no longer alive to pay her school fees, and who told us, “Now I know I will get married, give birth to children whom I cannot send to school because I will be poor. This is not what I wanted.”
Fates of the more than 70 million girls under the age of 18 who are currently married, and the 39,000 more who are being forced into marriage in countries across the developing world each and every day.
For far too long, adolescent girls and the unique challenges they face have been left out of conversations about global development. And despite research that shows how powerful a force girls can be in reducing poverty and inequality in their communities and around the world, development efforts have seldom included their points of view or sought to overcome the unique barriers that have held girls back.
Finally, the world is starting to pay attention.
In July, the UK government and UNICEF hosted a Girl Summit that highlighted the terrible practices of female genital mutilation/cutting and early, forced and child marriage. This week, the United Nations is meeting to discuss child marriage, its harmful impacts and what can be done to stop it. And later this month at the UN General Assembly, governments, UN agencies, advocates and many others will head to New York to define a global development agenda—known as the “Post-2015 Agenda”—that will guide the world for the next 15 years.
Early, forced and child marriage stem largely from poverty and from gross gender inequality, and result in significant negative consequences for girls, their communities and, ultimately, global development. Girls who are married early are less likely to complete school, with social norms in some countries dictating that married girls drop out of school in order to tend to chores at home. Early marriage contributes to early pregnancy, which is one of the leading causes of death among 15- to 19-year-old girls in the developing world. Married girls are at high risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, and are more likely to experience violence, abuse and exploitation than those who marry later in life.
Child marriage is, fundamentally, a violation of girls’ basic human rights. When girls are married early, they’re often forced to have sex before they’re ready and with a partner they most likely did not choose. They’re taken away from their families, and expected to give up their education and their aspirations. They’re taken away from their friends, and, if they had previously been so fortunate as to play a sport, that is very likely no longer an option.
At the same time, we need to recognize that child marriage is also a significant impediment to reducing poverty and advancing global development. When otherwise brilliant, strong and influential girls are constrained to play the role of subservient, under-educated wife and young mother, they’re less likely to help their communities and powerless to contribute to their countries’ efforts to combat poverty.
This is why it is absolutely essential that the health, wellbeing and rights of adolescent girls be central to the Post-2015 Agenda. And it is even more essential that the perspectives of adolescent girls themselves be reflected in those conversations.
We can all contribute to this effort by endorsing the Girl Declaration and by sharing the voices of more than 500 girls living in poverty from 14 countries, which ICRW attempted to capture in a report called, “I Know. I Want. I Dream: Girls’ Insights for Building a Better World.”
Perhaps knowing that girls in Pakistan wish to “live freely like boys and not be restricted like girls;” that girls in Egypt want not to have anyone control them, hit them or tell them what clothes to wear; and that girls in Ethiopia “want everyone to realize that women are capable of doing everything” will help ensure that girls are not an afterthought in our future global development agenda.
Just like Mo’Ne Davis in Philadelphia, women and girls everywhere are capable of doing everything. But they can’t do it all unless we empower them, give them the tools to succeed and knock down the barriers that have held them back for far too long. Let’s make sure our global leaders get that message.
Suzanne Petroni is senior director for gender, population and development at the International Center for Research on Women.