As a Caribbean woman, I was taught very well defined gender roles. Whether or not those played out in real life is another blog post for another day. When my brother played a sport, he got the best of everything – equipment, shoes… when it was my turn? Not so much. “Why am I buying my girl child gym boots anyway?” They would reluctantly buy my basketball hightops, but with little fanfare, and even less money spent. The same went for my soccer cleats… I brushed this off as just the way things were, but I couldn’t imagine saying this to my li’l bit. Caribbean women are used to getting this contradictory information from their parents. You can (and must) do and be whatever you want to be, and must not let anyone deter you. (YES!) However, men get special privileges and consideration when it comes to just about everything. (WHAT?) It was really very confusing.
This morning, I gave my daughter a writing prompt that opened her eyes just a little wider to how the world sees her as a girl. I am in law school, and when appropriate, we talk about the cases that I am reading. We have talked about equal protection and Title IX before, so when I gave her the opportunity to do research and write about her ideas on wage equality in professional sports, she went straight to her copy of the Constitution. I gave her some statistics and the text of Title IX. Armed with the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and some of the history books on her shelf (she’s a big history buff), she set out to prove that women deserve equal pay in professional sports too.
Every now and then she’d run into the room and ask questions like, “What are government subsidies? What is a salary cap?” In between questions, she’d yell out from her room, “Well how unfair is THIS? So guys make WHAT? Did you know that women only make…” Before I knew it, her brainstorming note page was full, she had mapped out her argument, and her first paragraph was done. I just sat there looking at my Administrative Law outline wishing that I could be as passionate about the Administrative Procedures Act as she was about this.