A Colgate student-athlete’s perspective on gender inequity in athletics by Taryn Tomczyk ’16

Recently, I came across a foundation that advocates for women athletes and brings attention to an array of different issues and inequities in both collegiate and professional sports. As a woman athlete at Colgate University, I think it is great to see this kind of support for women athletics. On the other hand, it is disheartening that gender inequity still exists throughout the collegiate and professional realm of athletics. With that being said, it is important to bring awareness to these issues in order to fix them. The Women’s Sports Foundation does just that—not only do they shine a light on the inequities that exist, but they also suggest ways in which we can better advocate for women athletes.

The Women’ Sports Foundation website gives statistics showing the disparities between men and women athletics. Women’s teams receive 38 percent of college sport operating dollars, and 33 percent of recruitment spending money. They also receive only 45 percent of athletic scholarship; the other 55 percent is allocated to their male counterparts. This pattern of inequity continues in the professional world as well. The prize money for the PGA tour is 250 million dollars, while the prize money of the LGPA tour is 50 million dollars—a 200 million dollar discrepancy. For finishing 3rd in the World Cup, the women’s national soccer team was awarded 25,000 dollars, while the men’s national soccer team was awarded a bigger prize of 200,000 dollars for reaching only the quarterfinals of the World Cup.

Even though the foundation calls attention to these unfair statistics, they also acknowledge that there have been steps taken towards equality. For example, in 2007 Wimbledon announced that both male and female athletes would receive the same prize money. Following in Wimbledon’s footsteps, all four grand slam tennis events began to offer the same prize money to both men and women winners. In addition, Jelena Prokopcuko, a woman runner, won the New York City marathon two years in a row. She took home the largest prize in marathon history both years. Although inequity still exists, this shows that equity is still achievable encouraging the future participation of women in athletics.

Reflecting on my own experience as a Colgate women’s soccer player, I have been blessed with a great support system—coaches, athletic directors, faculty, friends, and family. However, I think there is always room for improvement. There are simple things we can all do to better support women athletics here at Colgate even if that means just attending a game. Something as simple as that can make a big difference and I assure you will be much appreciated by your fellow Colgate women athletes. The foundation further suggests that we support companies that advocate for women athletes, encourage television stations and newspapers to cover women sports, or even sign up to coach a girl’s team.

Here is the link for the foundation: http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/home/research/articles-and-reports/equity-issues/pay-inequity.

If you want to learn more about women athletes or even become an advocate check it out!

Lauren D’Amico ’16 reflects on her summer internship and the gender gap in the oil and gas industry

This past summer I had an amazing opportunity to work for one of the leading natural gas producers in the United States. My journey began in Oklahoma City at the Company’s headquarters. As a first year intern I was excited to officially meet the other 80 some inters in the program. As I headed into the massive conference room I quickly noted I was the only woman in the room. Of course, I was very early and about 15 other women trickled in before the conference started. From the moment I walked into the conference from the moment I left, I was aware of the gender gap. I found myself inwardly struggling with wanting to be me, bubbly, sociable, and feminine but more than this I wanted people to take me seriously in the male dominated environment.

An interesting article was released by the Houston Journal a few days ago that speaks well to my experience in the energy industry. “The World of Roughness Presents It’s ‘Softer Side’”, by Ryan Holeywell highlights the intensely male-dominated oil and gas industry and the need/want for more female participants. Halliburton is one of the world’s largest oilfield service with operations is over 80 countries. Halliburton has been one of the first to recognize the demand for more female participants in the industry. According to the American Petroleum Institute the total female makeup of oil/gas/petrochemical workforce is 19%.

To counteract the ratio of women to men in this type of industry it has proven successful to have female recruiters for companies instead of males. Energy companies are also now sending highly ranked women to speak at campus events as an example for the potential of women in the industry. Oil and Gas companies are also providing employee on campus daycare programs, generous maternity leave policies, flexible work schedule, and a greater say when it comes to relocation.

More companies are starting to believe that a more diverse group can lead to a better pool of thinkers. For this reasoning BP’s Global Head of Talent Attraction and Candidate Experience, Linda Emery, states that BP wants women to comprise 25% of its group leaders by 2020, up from the current 18%. Emery states that it is critical they recruit the best talent and this talent is not restricted to just males or just females.

Although efforts are rising to close the gender gap according to NES Global Talent a quarter of female engineers in the oil and gas industry still feel as though their presence is unwelcome. A non-profit, National Diversity Council, published a list of the top 50 most powerful women in the oil and gas industry earlier this year. Corporate counsel, marketing executives, and human resource directors conquered the list not leaders in drilling, exploration, or production.

As a women who is very interested in the oil and gas industry and a first hand witness to the gender gap these findings were very interesting. Although there is still much work to be done I feel as though companies are taking initiative in addressing the core problems and furthermore taking steps to make a more diverse workforce.

A link to the article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/The-world-of-roughnecks-presents-its-softer-side-5799587.php?cmpid=email-premium&t=39ed69707d81750c0d#/0

Sandy Pomeroy ’83 to discuss Male/Female Dynamic in the Corporate Workplace on Monday, September 20th! Register now!

The Male/Female Dynamic in the Corporate Workplace
Sandy Pomeroy ’83 will join us to discuss her 30+ years of professional experience. She will share the successes and challenges of a woman ascending to a leadership role in a corporate setting.
Monday Sept. 29, 2014
109B East Hall/Women’s Studies Center
Immediately following the talk, there will be a FREE dinner at the Colgate Inn from 5:30-7pm with Sandy to continue the conversation. Please RSVP for the dinner below; spots are available for the
first 20 respondents.

Annie Garcia’s take on the importance of perseverance and self-pride

In light of current events on campus, I’d like to show my support for the #CanYouHearUsNow protest, which has recently grown to gain national attention for the cause. The struggle to adjust to a social climate primarily dominated by the “white man” has been brought to light over the past three days through several personal testimonies and accounts of racism, sexism, and homophobia. President Herbst, in a response, pointed out that this is not a uniquely “Colgate Problem”, but rather a problem in the American Society as a whole- especially in the professional workplace. Statistics show that out of our nation’s Fortune 500 CEO’s, only 1% identify as black, 4% as women, and 0% as openly homosexual. Thus, the great majority of employees of these companies are looking up to heterosexual white man.

This reminds me of an article posted over the summer (link posted below), illustrating the journey of a black, female entrepreneur. Quisha King created a modified teething ring for her infant son, which she hoped to develop and manufacture herself. Though, she lacked a professional role model who shared her perspective and struggled to find other minority women who could offer first hand advice to aid her startup. She described her problem as the “double minority problem”, being a non-white woman, which is also a common situation among many Colgate students and current activists. She argued that she lacked both financial and social capital that many are privileged to have, which enable them to effectively network and market their products, leaving her inherently disadvantaged.

Despite the harsh realities of the minority struggle in today’s American society, there are glimpses of optimism and hope that can spark advancements, both professionally and socially. The article urges minority women and women as a whole not to shrink into socially established roles, but rather excel in what the are passionate about to gain professional respect from people of all walks of life. To effectively network, you must stand out among the crowd and display your true talents. We must highlight our strengths to show how we have overcome our weaknesses. As Colgate students push for a safer environment for both present and future students, we, as women, can use these lessons of perseverance and self-pride as we venture into the notoriously male dominated workplace.


Career Considerations for College Seniors: Resume-Building Begins Now

For college seniors, returning to school in September is the beginning of the last hurrah: One last football season in the student section, one last round of fraternity and sorority rush and one last chance to host the epic house party that will be remembered for years to come.

Unfortunately, an impressive keg stand record doesn’t count as a hard skill, and adjusting the margins on your resume to make it look beefier won’t fool potential employers as easily as it did your Lit 201 professor. In today’s competitive job market, now is the time to start thinking about post-grad plans, particularly if your resume is lacking.

- To read the full article click here

How to overcome “The Confidence Gap,” by Emily Valentine ’16

Over the summer I read an article in The Atlantic that concerned the purpose of this organization. “The Confidence Gap” by Katty Kay and Claire Shapman talked about what really holds many women back from reaching the top echelons of their respective career paths. Through all their interviews and conversations with accomplished businesswomen, Kay and Shapman realized what all these women had in common: self-doubt. Many women who had reached a high level of success claimed that luck accounted for some part of it. On the other hand, men were more likely to point to personal strengths and hard work as the catalysts of their achievements. The article says how many recent studies have shown that men display more confidence than women and this in turn could play just as big a role as competence when it comes to moving up the ranks of a company. Even when their performance and ability is the same, men believe they are more qualified while women tend to think they are less qualified.

What caught my interest in the article were female traits that Kay and Shapman said named as factors of this lack of confidence. Whether it’s our tendency to take the blame for when things go wrong or our perfectionism, it seems like as women we are constantly making the path to success more difficult for ourselves. From research it appears that this lack of confidence starts way before successful careers are even a concern: elementary school classrooms. At this age it is easier for young girls to behave and obey their teachers than it is for young boys. As a result of this, they get used to approval and praise and want to continue receiving it. This in turn makes girls more risk-averse. Unfortunately though, taking risks, making mistakes and persistence are “essential to confidence-building”. As girls grow older, research shows that they continue to lose self-esteem while boys tend to gain it.

While a lot of this seems like a gloomy outlook on women’s potential in the workplace and in life, the authors conclude the article by pointing out there are ways for women to improve and build their confidence. The advice they give is to “stop thinking so much and just act”. While of course this seems easier said than done, understanding what could be holding women back enables us to fight against these obstacles. Instead of overthinking and second guessing ourselves, we can accomplish more by taking action.

The full article can be found here: http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/04/the-confidence-gap/359815/

- Click here to check out Emily’s LinkedIn