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Four Things You Probably Don’t Know About Title IX

9:04 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Becka Wall for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

IU women's basketball

Annmarie Keller of the Indiana University Northwest women's basketball team

Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 6th, is National Girls & Women in Sports Day, which has people singing the praises of Title IX from soccer fields, softball diamonds, tracks, pools and countless other sporting venues — and for good reason! Title IX is an enormously important law for female athletes — no other law has done more to expand opportunities for women and girls in athletics. While there is still work to be done, the progress we have made thanks to Title IX is tremendous.

But what many people don’t know is that the benefits and protections of Title IX aren’t limited to athletics. Here are four other ways Title IX is there for young women (and men, too):

1. Equal opportunities in career and technical programs in traditionally male-dominated fields

Title IX requires that girls and boys be given equal opportunities in career and technical education programs, particularly in traditionally male-dominated fields. Getting more women in these fields may be the key to closing the gender wage gap, since predominantly female occupations pay lower wages than predominantly male ones. Women still face barriers and a lack of encouragement in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (often referred to as STEM), but Title IX has broadened opportunities for a number of women and girls.

Shree Bose, a student at Harvard University, took science and math courses from a young age, finding her calling and her passion in science. As a result of winning the 2011 Google Science Fair for her important breakthrough for chemotherapy resistance treatment, she was invited to speak at conferences, attend an Ivy League university, and even meet the president! We need more girls like Shree, and Title IX is working to ensure that all girls who have an interest in STEM fields or classes are able to pursue them.

2. Protection for pregnant & parenting students

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Street Harassment: A Means of Control That We Need to Get Under Control

11:40 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Marianne Møllman for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

A photo of a woman as she walks away.

Photo: d. FUKA / Flickr

Street harassment—sexual harassment of women in public—has gained notoriety in Western media since the start of the Arab spring. Most recently, a harrowing first-person narrative of a mob sexual assault of a Western woman on Cairo streets had an editor from The Atlantic conclude that he would do anything to stop his daughters from going to Egypt and being exposed to that kind of abuse.

Unfortunately, research suggests that if you want to prevent your daughters from experiencing street harassment, you would need to keep them off the streets pretty much anywhere. The vast majority of women from Indianapolis to Beijing have experienced street harassment at some point, including leering, whistling, and sexual grabbing or touching.

And though most street harassment definitely is less physically aggressive than the story from Egypt, it is anything but benign. Enough scholars have examined the socio-political context and psycho-social consequences of street harassment to conclude that men harassing women in public is a symptom of the sentiment it perpetuates: women as inferior objects of prey.

I know what I am talking about, as does just about every women and post-pubescent girl. The worst case of street harassment I have suffered made me throw up and had me tank a job interview. Even now, 18 years after, I remember the smell of the guy who slid up behind me on a Paris metro escalator to hold me still while he whispered into my ear just what he was planning on doing to me. I froze, somehow unable to move. When the interminable escalator-ride was over, the guy was gone and I was retching. I did keep my interview afterwards, but lost the job.

But even the other, less horrible, cases of harassment took their toll. There was the adolescent boy who purposefully ran into me on a street in downtown Guatemala City some time in early 1997 and grabbed my crotch, hard, for precisely 3 seconds (I counted). Or the grown man who did the same on the F-train in New York City this very year. Both had me shaking and slightly disoriented for hours.

I could go on.

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STOKING FIRE: Ultra-Conservative Doctrine May Be the Reason for Unreported Sexual Crimes in the Military

10:29 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

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Written by Eleanor J. Bader for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

The cliché tells us that war is hell, but for female enlistees, the war on the domestic front—within their units–trumps that of the battlefield. In fact, a recent Veteran’s Administration survey revealed statistics that should have turned the military on its warmongering head: 30 percent of female vets told the interviewers that they had been assaulted by a male colleague and/or supervisor. Worse, 14 percent reported having been gang raped and 20 percent reported having been raped more than once.

Shockingly, these figures may be low since under-reporting of sexual crimes is known to be endemic.

Part of the blame for the reluctance to report rests with an unsympathetic military chaplaincy, one of the few places soldiers, sailors, reservists, national guardians, and marines can turn for counseling. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 20 percent of today’s 3000 military chaplains were trained at the ultraconservative Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia. Founded by Rev. Jerry Falwell and Elmer Towns in 1971, the school bills itself as the world’s largest seminary, something it attributes to its “conservative doctrinal position, its sound grounding in Bible teachings, and its reflection of core Christian essentials.” The school’s website clears up any definitional murkiness: “Liberty is committed to changing the entire world for Jesus Christ, first changing the world with its students, then equipping them to change the world around them.”

While most of its students are undoubtedly attracted to this mission, others attend Liberty because tuition is low: $1900 a term for residential students and $2200 for distance learners. During the 2011-2012 year, nearly 9000 students from 46 countries registered for online classes; of them, more than 1000 hope to complete the 72-credit program and become military chaplains. A severe shortage of armed forces clerics—an article posted on Times Union.com in February 2011 blames the deficiency on the military’s rigid age and physical requirements and on the reluctance of pastors/rabbis/imams to exchange the comforts of home for combat—will likely make this dream come true for many of them.

That this bodes badly for women and the LGBTQ community is a given. Read the rest of this entry →