Generally, I enjoy finding how seemingly disparate things fit together. Today, however, I take little joy in it due to the subject matter I’m about to embark upon. But, I think it needs to be stated.
I’ll fully disclose that while I have not lived in Indiana my entire life, I was born here and have lived most of my life here. Indiana also loves to parade around that it is one of the sports capitals of the world. Although, I’ve never personally subscribed to the love for sports. At all. I’ve never been to a Colts game–never stepped foot in their new shiny stadium (even though I’m sure my tax dollars have paid for part of it at some point), and still scratch my head as to why the NFL is a non-profit.
Of late, unless you’ve been on Mars, you already know the story with domestic violence and NFL players. You also know how the NFL has handled (or not handled) its problem with domestic violence.
What I’m about to suggest–how STEM education is tied to all this–may be controversial, but I’ll go ahead and say it anyway. Here goes.
I think the BEST way to prevent women in particular from domestic violence situations is through ensuring that they are financially independent. The BEST way to ensure financial independence is to then educate women in career areas in demand, and career areas where pay gaps between genders are smallest. Where is that, you may ask?
Now, I tried to find articles and data that would support that women who are more educated are less prone to be victims of domestic violence. Unfortunately, (at least in other countries outside the U.S.), the opposite appears to be true in many cases–in that women who are more educated know their rights, question authority, and thus can be more prone to violence when they question a patriarchal society.
However, I’ll continue to argue the opposite for women in the U.S. STEM Education can increase financial independence for women. I think if women can be educated in STEM, they can also be independent, and not have to depend on any significant other, period. They also aren’t victims of wide pay gaps in STEM fields just because they’re women (in most cases). Indiana is ranked 45-46th out of 50 states for pay gap (depending upon which study you read, this one by AAUW says 45th) – which means that women are paid even less on average than the national 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. In Indiana, that’s 74 cents instead. I find this unacceptable. And this is why I’m focusing my time and energy on educating the NEXT generation of girls (and boys) about STEM–so that they can live freely and independent.
So, I guess my message is in particular to the ladies today. Ladies, I’d like to challenge you to think long and hard about whether or not you should be watching football this Sunday on TV. Do you really want to get behind this? For that matter, what about the largest NFL sponsors? Are you supporting them with your hard-earned 74-77 cents for ever dollar a man makes? Should you be?
I’ll let you decide the answer to these questions. However, I’m certain you can guess what I won’t be doing this Sunday – or any Sunday for that matter.