January 9: Portland 21+ Gender Equity Conversation

We partnered again with Portland Ultimate to put on an event for adults - as a happy hour prelude to women's league later that night. Portland Ultimate provided an incredible space and spread of food so people could snack before heading out to play. We centered the discussion around the systemic issues that prevent women from taking more leadership roles in ultimate (whether it's captaining, coaching, or in business). One impressive number from the Portland Ultimate community is that on the upcoming year, the ratio of women to men on the Board will be 5:3. 

After looking at the numbers and the causes, we broke into two groups: cis-men and everyone else, and asked for both groups to share what their gender group could do and what they would ask the other gender group to do. A couple takeaways: 

  • From all those who are not cis-men:
    • What can we do? 
      • Step Up - take leadership roles at any skill level (college, league, club, etc.)
      • State the obvious on teams - signify a safe space, encourage women to speak up in huddles, don't use the phrase "use their women" as a compliment on good mixed teams
      • Ask allies to step up and reach players you can't reach
    • What can cis-men do? 
      • Be an intermediate for other men who don't get it right away.
      • Be an advocate during dangerous plays to have people who make them take a sub and go off the field. 
      • Be supportive partners to offer child care and encouragement to women to step into leadership roles.
  • From cis-men:
    • What can we do? 
      • Be vocal advocates without talking over women. Amplify women's voices. 
      • Get in the habit of calling 4 men or 4 women and not assuming 4 men. 
      • Call out teammates and opponents, and bring those players to more gender equity discussions like this one. 
    • What can non cis-men?
      • Clearly call out what cis-men are doing wrong - whether during strategy committee or in group huddles. 
      • Support finding ways to discuss gender issues with non-allies. 
      • Define the end goal so cis-men can be more proactive in reaching those goals. 
Laurel OldershawComment