I talk pretty regularly to McK about the things she enjoys, what she loves, what she is currently obsessed with and what she might want to be when she is older. Last week it was an author. This week it is a producer. Next week? Who knows.
I have never told her that she may make less, or have to work that much harder, simply because she is a girl. I have never told her because, knowing her, she would find that to be a ludicrous statement.
I certainly haven’t told her that if she enters a male-dominated field, like technology, not only will she get paid less, but she is more likely to be harassed and pushed out than many other fields. The GamerGate situation is one that leaves you feeling pretty hopeless for women in tech yet it is a topic I will likely have to broach with my 12 year old.
I’m not sure how to tell her about that.
How do you tell a 12 year old girl that simply because she loves video games and is amazing at them and might entertain working in that field, that she will be subject to potential ridicule, abuse, threats and constant intrusions into her life and the lives of her friends and family, just because she is a girl who can do what boys can, and do it better.
I know there are champions, both male and female, fighting the good fight for equality in those situations. And I can only hope that the boys she is in school with now, who grow up playing these games alongside her, will understand and promote that the tech sector is for everyone. I can only hope that if she chooses a field like tech, that by then the allies outweigh the bullies.
But more visible than that, and more talked about, is the equality in pay in virtually every professional field. I read an article today that detailed the fight that the US women’s national soccer team has taken on. I can only imagine the Canadian women’s team has it even worse.
“The World Cup pay skews so dramatically, the men earned $9 million for losing in their round of 16 in 2014, while the women earned $2 million for winning the entire tournament.”
Billie Jean King fought for equal pay at the US Open and in 1973, she got it. Venus Williams fought for equal pay at Wimbledon and in 2007, she got it.
The recent stories prompted by the Erin Andrews lawsuit. The Ghomeshi verdict. The comments on articles and tweets. They don’t give a gal much hope.
But I will continue to tell my girl, as I often do, that she can be and do anything she wants to. I will continue to foster and support her endeavors and her dreams. And I will continue to hope that the more Billie’s and Venus’ we have out there, the more USWNT voices that aren’t afraid to shout out loud, the less explaining I’ll have to do to my daughter.