Believe in Gender Equality? Moms — We Need You to Coach.

Let’s Show Our Little Girls and Boys that Women Play Too.

Source: Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

I walked into the library and frantically looked around to see where the baseball coaches meeting was being held. A man came in about ten feet behind me. As I strut towards the librarian to ask where the meeting was, but before I was close enough to speak, she called over to the guy and said “Are you here for the baseball meeting? It is downstairs.”

I stopped in my tracks and turned around to follow him. “Huh”, I thought. I am in the middle of writing a TEDx Talk on raising conscious boys which includes implicit gender bias, so I noticed this with a curiosity, not blame, but just filed it away as evidence of how prevalent this is. We made eye contact and she assumed I was here for something other than the coach’s meeting. The guy, in the same space and time, was presumed to be here for the meeting solely because he was a man.

I thought about this as trampled down the stairs and rushed into the meeting room only to find row after row of men looking back at me as I entered. I had to laugh a bit at the absurdity of it, especially since I was already thinking about implicit gender bias.

Then, I caught a woman’s eye and gave her a mental high five before I realized she was the administrative person on the organizing team. So, I sat down in the sea of sausages, like 50+ guys, and half listened to how to notice the symptoms of cardiac arrest but was mostly distracted by thinking ‘Where are the ladies? There must be Moms who played softball or baseball, or at the very least like watching the professional teams?’

This is not to discredit all the Dads who step up to coach and volunteer their time, I love that so many Dads care, but come on ladies! Where are you? We can show up to the marches and talk about #metoo and gender equity, but how are we ever going to show our kids that women can do it too if we sit back and let the Dads take over the athletic arena. How can we say to our daughter’s “You can do anything! You can play just as well as the boys!”, when we aren’t showing them that. How can we say, “Girls are just as athletic” to our littlest guys when we aren’t proving that? It felt very 1950’s to me.

I helped with assistant coaching in the past, but I never was a head coach and therefore never attended a meeting. With some thought, I realized, the Dads have generally been the coaches for my kids’ teams, but I did not notice until I was struck by the sheer number of guys sitting in the room. It raised my consciousness and made me realize that others probably haven’t noticed either. I am not here to judge but rather pop the illusion of gender equity in this area. I had no clue how imbalanced it was until I went to this meeting. Imbalanced but not unwelcoming. All the men I chatted with were friendly and encouraging, and probably didn’t even notice I was the only female coach present (until my assistant coach arrived).

To all the Moms out there out who played any sport, throw your hand in the arena. We need to show our little boys and girls that Moms play too. Girls like baseball. And soccer, hockey, and any other sport. There is huge value in having a female voice in a historically male domain. Before the meeting, I looked forward to sunny Sunday afternoons introducing our littlest players to baseball. But, I came home from that meeting so proud to tell my sons and daughter that I am coaching and feel like this is my small part in pushing gender equity one small step forward.

Source: Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash


Originally published at www.psychologytoday.com.