Monday, April 30, 2012

Do We Really Need Hundreds of Women's Centers? Duh!

One of my colleagues, who runs the University of Idaho Women's Center, posted this article by Mark Perry, a professor and writer on economics and finance issues.  His main point is that since women are attending and graduating from college at higher rates than men than we don't need campus based Women's Centers. 

Click here for article

What is interesting about the article is that he cuts and pastes mission statements from five women's centers who have main goals in promoting gender equity.  He disputes this by stating that if there are more women than men at a college, there is no need to promote gender equity.  Oh, Prof Perry, you just don't get it!  Gender equity is not about filling the seats in the classroom.  Gender equity is about how girls and women are treated in our world, which in case you haven't looked recently, ain't so hot.  Shall I cite some examples as Perry did? 

  •  Women make less than men.  White women in the 77 cent range, Black Women in the 67 cent range and Latina women in the 57 cent range to a white man's dollar.  
  • Over a billion women on the planet have been victimized by sexual violence.  One billion.
  • 17 out of 100 of our U.S. Senators are women.  17. 
  • Women hold only 3% of clout positions in the mainstream media (telecommunications, entertainment, publishing and advertising).
  • Women comprise 7% of directors and 13% of film writers in the top 250 grossing films.
  • The United States is 90th in the world in terms of women in national legislatures.
  • Women hold 17% of the seats in the House of Representatives (the equivalent body in Rwanda is 56.3% female).
  • Women are merely 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs.
  • About 25% of girls will experience teen dating violence.
  • The number of cosmetic surgical procedures performed on youth 18 or younger more than tripled from 1997 to 2007.
  • Among youth 18 and younger, liposuctions nearly quadrupled between 1997 and 2007 and breast augmentations increased nearly six-fold in the same 10-year period.
  • 65% of American women and girls report disordered eating behaviors. 
I could spend much more time on this list.  In fact, feel free to add to it in your comments.  As, here in the U.S., we are actually debating whether women should have birth control covered by their health insurance.  We are being told by men in power that an aspirin between our knees is the best way to prevent pre-marital sex.  We live in a culture that actively promotes violence against women.  There is a backlash occurring against women as I write.  This is why, Professor Miller, we need Women's Centers.  Why don't you go write about something that actually is of concern instead of trashing women's attempts at gender equity in a world that is anything but equitable.