I feel like we hear a lot about gender equality. How women deserve to be equal to men, how they deserve equal wage, or better job opportunities. I’m definitely not one who’s against gender equality, but I guess I’ve never really been a recipient of inequality. Not enough to make me sit up and notice.
But a few months ago, I went to two banquets with hubby. They were back to back, and both for soccer leagues. Hubby played in the men’s soccer league and he coached one of the girls’ soccer teams, which meant that he was invited to both.
The first banquet was for the men. It was in a very nice, beautiful dining area of the school, where there were matching dishes, and plenty of chairs for all the players and their spouses if they had any. An hour later, we ran across campus for the women’s banquet, which was in a crowded gym, and they had to cram as many people as they could around a table, since there wasn’t space. And my husband’s friend (another coach) had to find a chair because they didn’t have any.
At the men’s banquet, they had a microphone, and they had the sports chairperson talk to them, and answer any questions they had about future seasons, and the future of soccer. During the women’s banquet, they didn’t have anything to cut out the noise, so the assistant chairperson had to shout, and she didn’t open it up for questions, probably because she wouldn’t have been able to hear them even if she did.
At the men’s banquet, they had trophies for the top six players and the MVP, all engraved with their name and their award. At the women’s banquet, the top six players and MVP were all awarded mini-soccer balls with their name written with sharpie on it. And they weren’t even brought up to the front and awarded it, the balls were thrown to them.
As an outsider, it was astounding to watch. I wasn’t in the girl’s league, or in the boy’s league, but I was one of the only people that went to the banquet for both. None of them knew the difference. The girls seemed excited to be celebrating together, and were happy with the general experience, but that may be because they didn’t know what had happened an hour earlier. For the first time, I actually saw the gender inequality that I’d heard about so much. It’s so easy to live in ignorant bliss of what you’re missing out when no one tells you what the other side is getting. And it’s so easy to believe the others are getting the same thing as you when no one talks about it.