August 21, 2017

The Current

In this week's edition:

  • Gender and the Sports Entertainment Industry (4/4)
  • Gender Equity Conversation at Canadian Nationals
  • Oh Yes She Did! Weekly Highlight Clip
  • Announcements

Gender and the Sports Entertainment Industry:
Redistributing Wealth (4/4)

One of the biggest reasons women’s sports have yet to take off is that we haven’t yet seen the financial investment in them. We have yet to market them in the same way that men have been marketed as athletes for many years (for more on this, check out the beginning of our series). Ultimate is one of the unique sports that present the opportunities to discuss gender equity  included in being an ultimate player for many people includes talking about gender equity. However, talking and impactful action are two different things.

As an example, let’s pretend you’re a handler defender. You may say you’re going to play shut-down handler D, but if you let your person cut up line on you five times, there’s a slight disconnect between what you say and what you do. You leave the game feeling frustrated and say you’re going to work extra hard outside of practice to not get beat like that again. You can either commit to that, do two-a-days, drive yourself harder in your training, and work on your positioning, or you don’t. It’s the same with money and investment. We can say we support women in ultimate, but if we do, we also have to put the work behind our words, which in the case of the sports industry, means investing your personal money and time and using the advantages that you are given to push women’s sports forward.

The AUDL is antithetical in financial equity for women because even though many teams are losing money, the AUDL provides opportunities for men and one woman to play ultimate without the financial burden. A player in the AUDL saves a lot of money playing per season to get reps in stadiums and against other talented players. Looking at the total costs of an AUDL season, let's include upwards of 20 flights (~$200 each), plus jerseys (~$100), plus food and nutritional supplements for playing (~$100 per season), plus the cost of staying in hotels (~$50 per night), which adds up to just about $5,000 – as an estimate. Even if players are not receiving paychecks, someone is actively investing $5,000 into their ultimate careers, whereas most women don’t even have that opportunity.

Let that sit in for a second. Multiply it by all the players who play and the ones who don’t. Shout out to the incredible time, money, and energy that women have been putting into ultimate for so many years. The fact that so many women who play ultimate are extremely talented, contribute so much to the development of the sport, and find time to live their lives amazes me. Flatball didn’t give you the credit you deserve for the blood, sweat, and tears that you have shed to make this a better sport. You are strong. You are beautiful.  At Upwind, we see you.

 Annoushka Beaudry and Jordan Meron of  Toronto 6ixers  celebrate winning Canadian Nationals this past weekend. (Photo Credit:  Noah Markus )

Annoushka Beaudry and Jordan Meron of Toronto 6ixers celebrate winning Canadian Nationals this past weekend. (Photo Credit: Noah Markus)


Don’t worry, we’re not going to just throw you out into the cold on your own. Here are a few things you can do today and from now on to help change this:

  1. Invest in Upwind Ultimate. We are an organization with the mission of increasing the value of women in ultimate by building wealth for women in ultimate. We are looking for our first round of angel investors, with investments ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. This money will go to hiring more women to develop ultimate and play with no interruption from their current jobs.
  2. Buy products offered by women-run business in ultimate, including Kikko Socks and RenFitness. Support businesses in your community run by women and women of color.
  3. Buy a jersey from your local mixed and women’s teams. Many fundraisers these days are done through jersey sales, in which teams get small margins or kickbacks from the number of fans who buy their jerseys. Don’t want the jersey? Sponsor a player by buying their kit for them.
  4. Donate your AUDL checks and bonuses from your job to a youth girls team and/or a youth program. AGE UP runs leadership programs and coaches girls of color in Seattle, and is doing incredible work. GURLS is a new program out of the Bay Area, which focuses on small group experiences to support young girls to become leaders in their communities.
  5. Like mixed and women’s teams on social media. Companies choose the teams they want to sponsor by ROI, return on investment. With a wider reach, mixed and women's teams are more likely to get sponsors which reduces the financial burdens of playing ultimate. Similarly, watch more mixed and women's games on YouTube. Ultiworld argues that the reason they focus on the open division is that those articles are more likely to be read. These viewing numbers are unfortunately the primary form of measurement for business, and that's not likely going to change soon. Instead, put a game on in the background while you make dinner. You get to see incredible plays, and games will get more online hits. 

These tips are particularly pertinent for white, cis-people who, even if you don't have a lot of money right now, based on last week's article, you have more access to wealth in general than women of color. 

Stay focused. Question always, and to all my female-identifying players out there - keep rocking out on and off the field. It's because of you that this organization was created. 

Written by Laurel Oldershaw

Gender Equity Conversation at Canadian Nationals


At this past week's Canadian Nationals, we had a gender equity conversation, hosted by VC Ultimate and Layout Gloves, with some players from Vancouver Shhippos, Royal de Montreal, Ottawa Stella, and members of Ultimate Canada

Some of the main topics covered were:

  • what is gender equity anyways?
  • how can we address the logistics of hosting tournaments to be more gender equitable?
  • how can we change our language, by saying "Match D" instead of "Man D", or calling big groups "folks" instead of the gendered term, "guys"? 

We left with optimism, inspiration, and the challenge to keep asking questions, keep checking ourselves when we make mistakes, and keep growing!

Highlight of the Week


Check out highlights from the Pro-Elite Challenge in Denver, CO from last month, courtesy of Ultiworld and VC Ultimate


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