Many of us were proud of Ali Kershner for speaking up during the NCAA tournament.  If you haven’t heard, Ali is a performance coach for Stanford’s women’s basketball team.  She had the courage to take side-by-side photos of the men’s, fully equipped weight room versus the women’s and post it on social media.  What we saw was one rack of dumbbells and yoga mats in the women’s weight room, while the men’s were set up like L.A. Fitness.

Credit: @Kershner.Ali | Instagram

Millions of people were shocked and disappointed to see this.  Why?  It seems this form of inequality has been going on for a long time.  The inequality is not only shown by the difference in weight equipment, but in other forms, as well.  By now, many seem to wonder:  Aren’t women worth the change? 

NCAA

The NCAA apologized and admitted the inequality, which is a positive start.  Another representative from the NCAA stated that there was limited space and they had planned to expand the workout area, once that space was available.  However, several players and coaches were not satisfied with that explanation.  Many stated that they found additional space, on their own.  They asked, why was this even a problem? 

Writer and host, Jamele Hill, expressed her opinion about the discrepancy.  Hill felt that this has been a long-standing problem and that they didn’t think the women were worth it to begin with.

The NCAA president acknowledged the issue and is committed to taking action to do something about it.  This is the first step and kudos to Mark Emmert.  Now that the attention is there, this opens the door for open communication about the issue and to implement more equality amongst genders. 

Credit: Michael Conroy | Associated Press

Speaking up is not easy to do

Yes, the inequality has been there for a while.  Sometimes, it takes the courage of one individual (i.e. Ali Kershner) to speak out and demand change, in order for there to be change.  How many people do you think have been encouraged by this?  Not just women, but people in general?  Having the courage to speak up about something that you know is unfair, is hard to do.  You can be afraid of what people might think of you or afraid that you’ll be alienated. 

Was Ali Kershner just wanting to be right?  No.  This was an unfair issue because the women felt they had to exercise and be prepared at the same level as men.  Having lesser equipment than their counterparts was offensive.  This isn’t something to be bitter about.  It just reminds you that more effort needs to be made in equalizing the field between men and women.  It’s a matter of respect and we all want that. 

Making a difference is a group effort

The gender inequality in the NCAA, is a symptom of a bigger issue.  As a people, we can help promote gender equality in our every day lives.  We don’t have to wait on someone to bring national attention to it.    

Here are some ways we can help each other:

  • SUPPORT FOR MOMS AND PARENTS – people responsible for children need support.  Offer your seat to a pregnant woman on the bus or in a room.  Inquiring about companies guaranteeing paternity and maternity leave is essential for men and women that care for children.
  • SHARE HOUSEHOLD CHORES – all adults in the household should share the responsibilities for chores and childcare.
  • PROMOTE SUPPORT FOR WOMEN – promote a safe environment for reporting issues in all fields. i.e. sports, sciences, arts etc.

Most inequalities are from habits or something that we’re taught.  By making these inequalities visible, like Ali Kershner did, we can start the process of creating effective policies to address them.  It’s not going to happen overnight.  But we can all do our part.  Little by little, these changes create public support, demonstrating they are effective.

Have you ever experienced gender inequality? How did you handle it?  

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