Firstly, I hope you have enjoyed this series. I’m sure that if you have read any of them you have been inspired and impressed by the incredible ladies members of UYHC are. I wanted to close this series as I felt that many of the blogs have said how the men in the hockey club really care for gender equality but I wanted to express that so you can hear it directly from the horse’s mouth.
In UYHC we have exactly 50/50 ladies to men ratio, one female president and one male president and three ladies teams to three men’s team. The way we are run is fundamentally based on this as we have one male and one female president who do not deal exclusively with our own sex. This also feeds into the committee with equal importance placed on males for decision on the female side of the club and vice versa. If that doesn’t scream gender equality, I don’t know what will.
Personally, I am in a sport mad family with two sisters and a brother, however the idea that the boys go off to rugby while the girls get dinner on the table couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, I was the one dancing and acting on stage while my sister was playing international sport and had a season ticket to London Irish Rugby Club. My parents encouraged us to do whatever we wanted, it didn’t matter what society thought girls or boys were ‘supposed’ to be. Now my girlfriend is a published journalist and gave me a few tips for this blog post. She said, ‘put something new out there’, so this may be slightly different to what all the other blog posts in the series are focused on. I believe that we are getting closer to a society that is gender equal, but at the University of York we are lagging behind. So how do we go about changing this? For me this is the question, how has society done it?
In 2014, the ‘HeforShe’ campaign was formed. The idea that men are standing up in addressing inequality and discrimination against women is a powerful message. I think that this would be a brilliant campaign to bring into the university and to an extent me writing this article is hopefully going to have a similar message. At the moment, the way in which YUSU are bringing awareness to gender equality is through making statements. The ladies are playing last at Roses this year, a big statement for gender equality. It’s going to be great to see our women playing last at the climax of the day, however, that match is only going to last 70 minutes. The same can be said of International Women’s Day, it was amazing to see so much awareness around it on social media and speaking to other students, but it was only a day. For gender equality to become a reality in both university life and society in general, these statements need to be balanced with awareness in everyday life. A real way to achieve this is by reaching out to the men and making sure they are involved and aware. The men are just as important in making gender equality happen.
Some male students at the university think International Women’s Day doesn’t concern them. In UYHC International Women’s day means a lot both for the ladies and the men. For the ladies, as we have seen from the blogs it has been about celebrating inspirational women and promoting gender equality. For the men, it has been about awareness. There are people at university that believe when groups of sportsmen get together we become ‘bad lads’, but this is not the case. If someone had walked into the top floor of Salvation this week they would have found 20 University of York male hockey players discussing gender equality, how to change the situation to allow women to feel more equal in sport and what men can do to make all women at the university feel the way those inspirational ladies of UYHC feel.
Now YUSU have made their statement, I believe that it is time that gender equality, and awareness around it, becomes just as prevalent in everyday life. Not just for 70 minutes on the hockey pitch.