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. Always in search for daily joy.

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