Teaching Gender Inequality At Home


Teaching Gender Inequality At Home

Having a 4th and 7th grader at home, the topics for dinner conversations at our house are as varied as flavors of ice cream. Often, the fodder of elementary and middle school life dominates our conversations. But every now and then a topic presents itself that is not only engaging for the adults at the table, but serves as an opportunity for a life lesson as well.

This was the setting at our table last night.

I need to confess that while I love watching my kids play the sports they love, soccer was foreign to me before our adoption. I did not want to be labeled as a “soccer mom” and I sure as hell never wanted a minivan.

Six years later, both our kids are bitten with the soccer bug and play competitively in their age groups. As an avid soccer family, FIFA and professional games have replaced American football on our TV. Last night we found ourselves discussing the debate around the pay inequality between the US Women’s soccer team and the US Men’s team.

Our conversation went something like this:

Daughter: Mom, did you know that the US Women make peanuts to play soccer?

Me: Is that true? They actually get paid in peanuts?

Daughter: (Insert overly exaggerated teenage sigh. She no longer thinks her dad and I are funny.) No. But the men make like 10x more money than the girls. Just because they are boys. Can you believe that?

Mom: Unfortunately baby, yes. I believe it. It happens not just in soccer, but every where every day.

(Insert us Googling pay inequality for women globally.) As a side note, this is also one of the reasons why I am the world’s worst soccer mom. I make both of them research the statistics of college scholarships, years of a soccer players career and injuries.

( Now insert 15 minutes of the 7th grader lamenting about injustice in the world toward girls. I can just feel a parent teachable moment coming about.)

We also discussed the current lawsuit filed on behalf of the Women’s soccer team and how and why litigation can be a I couldn’t pass up a chance to fight the stigma against lawyers and excessive litigation as well.

During this conversation, my son watches, seemingly not paying much attention. When a pause in the conversation occurs, we find him with his mouth open at us.

Son: Mom. So if the girl soccer players win their suit thing, does that mean the boys can’t play soccer anymore?

Me: No son. Far from it. But let’s say it this way: I ask you and your sister to clean your room and I tell you I will pay her $5 and you only $3 and the only reason I gave was because you are a boy. Do you think that is fair?

Horror crosses his face.

Son: Why would you do that? Of course that is NOT fair!

Me: Exactly son. In your life should you learn that someone is not being treated the same because of who they are or a belief that they have, you have a choice. You can stand up for them or you can ignore them. Your dad and I ask you to look out for your sister and her to look out for you. But your duty as a human expands beyond that, it’s too look out for everyone.

Son: Ruta is a better soccer player than me. She needs the same money I get, if I ever get any.

And that my fellow parents, is called a win.

No matter how many times we fail, teaching our little people to look out for equality is a goal. Having those little people know and understand equality-that is winning at parenting!

 

 

Lindsey Andrews
About me

Attorney & Author of I Walk For Water. http://amzn.to/1FWlzpW Loved by hubs, 2 adopted kids, but worshiped by a French bulldog, named Walter.

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35 Comments

Joey
Reply September 8, 2017

I think this is a case in point of why families should have dinner together as much as possible. There's just no better place for a good conversation about middle school or the state of the world in general. Also, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one that googles the great questions right in the middle of a conversation!

    Lindsey Andrews
    Reply September 8, 2017

    Joey-YES! I think the biggest think parents overlook these days is getting everyone around the table. We have the best talks and I know what is going on with our kids. Even on crazy days, I will put the kids dinner on the bar and stand across from them while we eat, just to get good FaceTime with one another.

Amber Myers
Reply September 10, 2017

I agree! I talk about this with my kids. My son said something like, "Girls can't watch scary movies, they can be wimps," and I was like, "WOW, hold on there son...." Plus my daughter is going to prove him wrong. She's watching It this weekend ;)

My daughter knows girls aren't paid as much as boys, and she's like, "Why not? Girls probably do more than boys anyway."

    Lindsey Andrews
    Reply September 12, 2017

    Oh my gosh, Amber! I love this! Kids are smart and they pay attention and I love that both of your kids are having good conversations about things and you are calling them out! LOVE!

Milton Goh
Reply September 11, 2017

I agree that there should be equality! Rewards should be based on competency and not gender.

    Lindsey Andrews
    Reply September 12, 2017

    Thank you Milton for stopping by!

corinne & kirsty
Reply September 11, 2017

It's scandalous the difference in salary between men and women in sport. Or in any other field. As far as I remember, my parents always made sure my brothers and I would the same amount of chores and we'd be treated equally. They also taught us that this should not only be in the house so we knew pretty early. But so much is still to be done!

    Lindsey Andrews
    Reply September 12, 2017

    Absolutely!

Jessica Taylor
Reply September 11, 2017

I love that you were able to take this moment and make it a lesson. Gender inequality is something that people tend to sweep under the rug

    Lindsey Andrews
    Reply September 12, 2017

    Thank you Jessica. It definitely is not a "trendy" thing to discuss and I think that is why it continues to thrive.

akamatra
Reply September 11, 2017

Excellent example of parenting done right! Kudos for finding the time and the right words and examples to explain this difficult matter to your kids.

    Lindsey Andrews
    Reply September 12, 2017

    Thank you so much!

AllMyDeals
Reply September 11, 2017

Loved the peanuts conversation, gender inequality is a serious issue though

Sarah Bailey
Reply September 11, 2017

What a great way to try an explain gender inequality and why equal pay is needed for all.

Hey Sharonoox
Reply September 11, 2017

I like reading this conversation on gender inequality. It's important to instill a sense of equality in children.

Christiana
Reply September 11, 2017

I love kids who have inquisitive minds and can communicate wonderfully with their parents, it's so adorable.

Megan
Reply September 11, 2017

Fair is fair. I think this is an important conversation to have with our children. Glad we are living in these times and reap the benefit of all the strong women that came before us. Still have a ways to go, but thankful.

    Lindsey Andrews
    Reply September 12, 2017

    Yes! Love this Megan. Thank you for stopping by!

Claudia Krusch
Reply September 11, 2017

This is such an important subject to talk to our kids about. The cleaning your room comparison is a great way to explain it to them.

Ophelia T
Reply September 11, 2017

I think we should have these issues discuss at length with our children and everyone in our communities. The only way to solve this problem is to have everyone to realize how terrible and wide spread gender income inequality is.

    Lindsey Andrews
    Reply September 12, 2017

    I totally agree Ophelia! Kids learn from us and we have to give them the language to call out oppression and injustice.

Chloe
Reply September 12, 2017

GO mama!! What a beautiful lesson to start teaching your kids. I have a daughter and I hope by the time she begins her working life, things will be a little different and A LOT more equal.

    Lindsey Andrews
    Reply September 12, 2017

    Thank you so much Chloe!

Anchal
Reply September 12, 2017

That is a win. I am so proud of you and your kids. Sadly the inequality exists. Teaching our children is the right way to curb it in the future.

    Lindsey Andrews
    Reply September 12, 2017

    Thank you Anchal! Inequality does exist, but we can teach our kids to fight against it.

Angela Milnes
Reply September 12, 2017

I definitely think women have to try a bit harder. However, I don't like to bring this up to my daughter quite yet.

Heidi
Reply September 12, 2017

What an awesome conversation! Way to turn everyday moments into great teaching opportunities. I love how it looked like your son wasn't paying attention, but he totally was!

    Lindsey Andrews
    Reply September 15, 2017

    Thank you Heidi! He plays that game often around here! :)

Louise
Reply September 12, 2017

You're doing a great job at teaching this to your kids. My two have never been ones to stereotype by gender, but I do worry that my youngest might start picking that sort of stuff up from school as I know a lot of the mums are still very much 'this is how girls behave' and 'this is how boys behave'. You'd think we still lived in the fifties!

Louise x

    Lindsey Andrews
    Reply September 15, 2017

    Thank you Louise! I hate it when people say "they are just boys" or "they are just girls".

Denay DeGuzman
Reply September 12, 2017

What a great example of gender inequality you gave your little son. This is a very important topic for all parents to engage in with their children. They are the future and it will be up to them to change the status quo.

Ana De- Jesus
Reply September 13, 2017

I am very pleased that not only did your son understand that its unfair to pay men more than women but that he also acknowledged that talent should be a basis for being paid more and not gender.You taught a great lesson.

sarah
Reply September 15, 2017

I love reading real stories about life lessons. You are great mom.

    Lindsey Andrews
    Reply September 15, 2017

    Thank you so much Sarah. I often don't feel like a good mom. Thank you for the encouragement...all moms need it.

Marcelo Pareja
Reply September 17, 2017

This reminds me of a brand of instant noodles that promote having dinner with the whole family every day as good conversation starts in a family meal time

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