How Empowering Girls to Confront Conflict and Buck Perfection Helps Their Well-Being
Girls, more than boys, are socialized to feel the pressure to please people in their lives, to seek perfection, and to do what they can to avoid conflict, which means they don't learn, as boys do, how to "fight" back in ways that can lead them to constructive outcomes. Here's a story by KQED's Mindshift that presents parents and educators with ways to help young girls to "engage in productive conflict, acknowledge and grow from mistakes, develop emotional intelligence and take responsibility for the role they each play in social situations." By the age of six, girls are less likely than boys to identify their own gender as being "really, really smart."
Marriage and Motherhood at Wimbledon
If Serena Williams wins Wimbledon this week, she'll be a married woman champion. That means her name as champion will switch from Miss S. Williams, which is what it's been, to Mrs. A. Williams, though she neither goes by Mrs. nor is Williams her husband's surname (Alexis Ohanian), which are the only two ways that would befit putting a Mrs. in front of it. Tradition dictates, however, that this is how her name would be recorded, just as it was for Chrissy Evert (Mrs. J.M. Lloyd) and Billie Jean King (Mrs. L.W. King). Fortunately, the club has a compendium that logs the marital history of every woman who has reached the semifinals or finals, except for Martina Navartilova who married a female spouse.
It was nearly 30 years after Evonne Goolagong won the Wimbledon singles in 1980 that another mother, Kim Clijsters, became a Grand Slam champion. She won the 2009 United States Open, the first of three Grand Slam titles that she collected after the birth of her first child. This year six mothers were in the Wimbledon draw, compared with 20 players who are fathers. Now Serena and other moms are speaking out about having nurseries at tournament sites.
Serena Williams has shared with the public her postpartum depression and what it took to fight herself back into world-class competitive shape. Then, this week from Wimbledon she tweeted about crying when she heard her daughter took her first steps and she wasn't there to see her.
Moms throughout the world empathized with her feelings and tweeted her back with stories of baby and toddler milestones they'd missed, too.
Then, there's the issue of how the media treats motherhood in the context of tournament coverage. When it happened that two moms played each other The Globe and Mail’s headline read: “Serena Williams to play Evgeniya Rodina in battle of the moms at Wimbledon," to which many tweeters replied as these two did:
Finally, the Ball Girls
It was in 1977 that Wimbledon first invited girls to try out to be ball girls. Here's how UPI reported this news:
Not until three years later did Wimbledon mix ball boys and girls on a team (1980), and five years would pass again before ball girls appeared on Centre Court for the first time.
How ballgirls and ballboys are selected today for Wimbledon.
Gender and Referees:
How two black women referees expanded the conversation about representation in sports
Referees have been left out of the conversation
Lots of eyes turned toward Danielle Scott and Angelica Suffren, two black women referees, when they showed up at an NBA Summer League game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat. It's the first year that the NBA recruited women to officiate at their training ground program like the NBPA Top 100 Camp. In 2017, a third of the referees in its minor league basketball program were women.
Building a pipeline?
Closer to Home: From Rower to Cox
Gained new appreciation for coxswains who more often than not are women given our lighter weight. In my case, me being cox was not about lesser weight but only because I volunteered to take on this role for a 1,000 meter race on Sunday morning on the Charles River. There is a lot of multitasking involved – the cox is motivator-in-chief, primary steerer, stroke rate watcher, and the person in charge of 8 rowers whose adrenaline kicks in. It's the cox's job to focus them on setting a powerful, sustainable rhythm that means catching together to start each stroke, pushing back with power from their feet/legs, and never losing focus in the competition of a sprint race. Here's photos taken of us during the race and on the dock upon our return: