“Boys Will Be Boys” is No Excuse

By Sam Kennedy

“He’s just teasing you.”
“That’s just how boys are.”
“Don’t let him get to you.”
Is it any wonder women stay in abusive relationships? From an early age young women are told that if boys are mean to you, that means they like you.
Now, an abusive relationship may seem like quite a conclusion to jump to based off of how children act towards one another in regards to crushes and flirting. Allow me to elaborate though through two scenarios:
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Behind the Counter

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[image source]

by Eryn Connery

You will leave with your empty cup

and I will immediately forget your face.

My barista smile isn’t an invitation,

the tilt of my head and my

high-pitched voice mean I’m trying to upsell you.

I’m here for my company,

for my boss, for my paycheck,

not for you.

So, you got a boyfriend?

Continue reading “Behind the Counter”

Title IX Supports Safe Education for Everyone

In the scholastic realm, discrimination based on sex involves more than encouraging girls to grow up to be teachers and boys to become doctors. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools, and without its provisions our academic (and career) landscapes might have looked less diverse today.  However, the struggle for fair access to federally funded education is ongoing.  After four decades and more than 20 amendments, related Supreme Court cases and other political dealings, Title IX has earned the moniker of “living law.”

Title IX is a refreshing kind of legal document.  It is broad in effect and straightforward in language.  The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights explains that the title covers “(all) public and private elementary and secondary schools, school districts, colleges, and universities receiving any Federal funds.”  So if any educational program receives government money, by law it cannot prevent people from participating in its services on the grounds of individual sexual biology, identity, orientation, or preference:

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . .”

And there’s more concerned here than women’s athletics.  Title IX ensures that Sue can go through business school with her sights leveled on a Fortune 500 CEO position, whether or not she ever plays volleyball.  If Jack wants to pursue a nursing degree, no one can legally argue that boys (biological or otherwise) don’t belong behind a nurse’s desk.  Male-identified students can use male-aligned restrooms and request feminine hygiene receptacles in the stalls without ridicule.  Women who identify as lesbians have legal protection to play hockey with other women.  Straight men can be presidents of ballet clubs.  The schoolhouse doors must remain unlocked for everyone, regardless of stereotypes and social judgments.

Yet people can do worse things than laugh at each other or take an extra percentage point off their test scores.  While campuses must stay open, they must also stay free of negative influence: “Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment or sexual violence, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion.”  The potential threat of being hurt, hindered, demeaned or objectified can keep students out of the classroom or clubhouse as readily as a locked door.  As of 2011, there had been almost 4,000 reports of sexual battery and more than 800 reports of attempted and actual rape in American public high schools.  Approximately 20 percent of college women (and nearly six percent of college men) will be sexually assaulted or the victims of attempted assault.  Many such incidents are never reported, and survivors’ voices often go unheard.  Title IX requires all schools to draft a clear policy against sex discrimination and publicize it broadly and continually.  It is a crucial fortification in the fight to keep our schools safe as well as accessible.

The OCR stretches across 12 offices throughout the nation and has a headquarters in Washington, D.C. to ensure this equity in federally funded programs.  Representatives came to the University of Idaho in February and held several conversational sessions with various student groups to review UI’s Title IX compliance, specifically regarding sexual misconduct issues.  While direct OCR support is helpful, all schools are required to appoint and provide contact information for an officer who will monitor and facilitate Title IX compliance, complaints and related issues.  Title IX Coordinator Dr. Carmen Suarez, alongside four deputy coordinators, works to cultivate and enforce an equitable environment at UI.

Like any policy, Title IX retains exceptions.  The law must respect religious organizations’ rights to abide by their own tenets; undergraduate institutions that have had a policy from their inception to accept only people of one sex aren’t forced to mix their memberships; student-populated sororities and fraternities, boys’ and girls’ youth service groups like the Scouts or YMCA, and student training programs for military service can also retain their sex-based policies of membership.  There are a few others, all similarly reasonable.

With such clearly delineated guidelines, sex-based discrimination can be easily identified and prosecuted.  And educational institutions have certainly gained some ground in this area.  Last year, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that the percentages of men and women aged 25-29 who’d attained bachelor’s degrees by 1990 weren’t notably different; but the percentage of women had risen seven points above that for men by 2012.  Further, there was a three percent rise in women’s favor for master’s degree attainment from 1995 to 2012.  The National Collegiate Athletic Association reported a 14 percent, 21 percent and 14 percent upswing in the number of female athletes in Divisions I, II and III, respectively, between 2004 and 2010.

Last week, UI celebrated 40 years since the signing of the Conciliation Agreement.  The document was signed in 1974 by UI President Ernest Hartung and nine members of a group appointed to investigate gender discrimination and other issues in the school.  The agreement called for an affirmative action plan, back pay for employees who had experienced salary discrimination, equal starting salaries for all employees, and job analysis implementation.  It affected positive changes for inclusivity in employment and student recruitment across several school offices and services.

Amid this progress, one of the only problems with Title IX concerns the practical outworking of the document’s provisions.  Not every school employs a Title IX coordinator, despite the legal requirement.  Many people don’t realize the protection Title IX affords them, or even that the title exists.

There are a lot of online resources people can use to educate themselves about Title IX.  Contact Dr. Suarez and her team at UI, or get in touch with your school’s coordinator.  Inform your school if you discover you don’t have one.  Request a list of coordinators in your state.  Get to know your rights, so you can better get on with your education.  Let’s celebrate many more years of equitable treatment in schools together.

Do Enlist!!! NOW Accepting Women!!!

Aaron W. California

 

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It is common in nearly every culture to find positions of employment that are gender stereotyped. In the U.S., according to the American Psychological Association, “more than 90 percent of elementary school teachers are women.” For many Americans, being an elementary school teacher is seen as “feminine” or a “woman’s” position. Men, of course, are allowed to become elementary school teachers if they wish. Throughout history, women have been forced to fight for the right to hold positions of employment that were legally reserved for men only. Fortunately for some women, as Bob Dylan put it, “the times they are a-changin.”

The U.S. launched its first submarine in 1900. For more than 100 years since the commissioning of the first U.S. submarine, women were banned from serving on board. There is no clear reason for the preventing of women serving on submarines, therefore I will address what took place on April 29, 2010. On this date, the U.S. Navy lifted their ban on women serving aboard submarines. This surprised me, as until now I assumed women were still not allowed to serve on U.S. submarines. Perhaps it was a bit of my own pride keeping me from imagining women serving on submarines. I have to admit, I did see submarine service as “a man’s job.” Never did I question my own thoughts and beliefs regarding women on submarine duty.

Nevertheless, I am excited to learn that things are changing for women, however slowly it may be. As of now, 43 women have begun service on U.S. submarines; indeed this is a very small number among the ranks of thousands of male naval servicemen. The courage these few women have to serve on male dominated vessels will hopefully inspire more females to pursue service on U.S. submarines.

Women are often a far cry away from being openly welcomed into desegregated fields of employment. The history of women in the New York Fire Department is one example of society’s continued fight against integrating women into a once male-only profession. The American Civil Liberties Union reports that “only 37 of the 10,500 firefighters in New York City are women.” Currently, female firefighters in the NYC Fire Department are being harassed by their male coworkers. Female firefighters are experiencing “silent treatment from their male coworkers, finding their firefighting gear tampered with, and…complete refusal to impose accountability on the perpetrators of harassment and discrimination.” Why are women being subjected to such abuse?

One reason, among many, many others, is the natural instinct to dominate women. The natural reaction for many men to having a female leader is to feel ashamed. Men feel this shame due to the instinct they have to be over and more powerful than women. Perhaps the male firefighters molesting their female coworkers feel as if they are no longer in control, “like men should be” they may think in their minds. If men are ever going to work peacefully alongside women in any profession that was once only open to men they will be required to let go of the desire to control women and the feelings of hurt pride when women are above them in ranking.

What purpose do male-only organizations serve? Sure, it’s understandable that men want to be only with men at times, just as women have girls’ nights out. There is a problem, however, when the “male-only” sign hangs over public fields of employment and government positions. It is a problem when, after sexual segregation has ended, women experience discrimination, verbally or physically. What is it about women being in once male-only positions that elicits so much violence? I mentioned earlier the vast majority of elementary school teachers are women, 90 percent, according to the APA. Are men who become elementary school teachers discriminated against by women for choosing a female dominated position? Clearly not. In fact, many school districts around the U.S. are actively recruiting men to take on the profession of an elementary school teacher.

Brenda Berkman, the first female NYC firefighter, has said discrimination against female firefights will stop when “the department stops repeating the mistakes of the past.” Indeed, much of the discrimination against women joining such professions comes from the desire to hold on to the traditions handed down from generation to generation. The NYC Fire Department has a long history of being a male-only group, as it was not until 30 years ago that the Department allowed women to join. Like a bad habit, keeping women out of positions based solely on gender differences is a practice that needs to be broken.

Psychology teaches something called extinction. Extinction is the ending of a response or behavior in a human that is no longer wanted. To end an unwanted response or behavior, patients are either denied what triggers the unwanted response or behavior, or exposed to what upsets them until the negative feelings go away. Professions discriminating against women need a good dose of extinction. Women need to be integrated into once male-only positions until the harassment and the violence stops. The women who continue to work in once male-only professions despite discrimination will lead the way in ending male-only policies.

Men who hold chauvinistic views towards women joining their line of work need to do much in order to change. The reasons why men discriminate against women are endless. One of the most important keys to ending discrimination against women is  having men make some personal life changes, yet changing personal beliefs is no easy task. Men will need the courage to seek professional help to realize they have a problem. Men will need the bravery to question the validity of their prejudicial views against women. Men often see being proven wrong as shameful and an attack on their personal pride; men will have to find the nerve to swallow their pride in order to end discrimination and violence against women.

It is men who will need to take a step back and see the work women can do. If men would but swallow their pride by recognizing and appreciating the quality and effort women put into the profession, they can begin to see women as their professional equals. Men will need the courage to question the saying “don’t send a woman to do a man’s job.” Men will need to ask themselves some important questions, namely “what exactly is a man’s job?” and “if women can do what I do, is there than any reason to continue their exclusion?” The fall of male pride and chauvinistic ideology will be necessary before violence and discrimination against women will stop.

What does it mean to now have women on board U.S. submarines and fighting fires alongside men? It means, although often little by little and while enduring harassment and discrimination, what Bob Dylan said is true, “the times they are a-changin.”

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