blackwomeninbusiness

yes, we exist.

Open Letter to ESPN

Since I talked about the empowerment of young women in my last post I thought it would be a good idea to address a huge problem that they face, lack of media coverage. Sports is a business that obviously has sexism.

 

To ESPN:

Sports are America’s favorite past time. Everywhere you look there is something about sports. Whether it be the newest trade made in basketball, the super bowl, or breaking news that Tiger Woods just cheated on his wife, sports are right there in your face. Sports create heroes, goals, and dreams. The media makes this all possible. They choose the upcoming stars to publicize. The media today is lacking the coverage of women within sports. The little coverage affects young women who aspire to be professional athletes to women who simply love sports, like me. The media greatly contributes to the gender roles in our society today. Men look up to strong, muscleman football players, but what do young women have to look up to? I would like you to realize the power you have to change the sexist world we live in.

I watch your channel at least three times a week and cant help but notice the heavy coverage of football, baseball, hockey, and even soccer; men’s. One of your most popular shows, SportsCenter, was reported to have a whopping 1.4% of coverage devoted to women’s sports. SportsCenter is the fans daily sports news that averages up to 150 million viewers a month. These viewers see the same male- dominated channel. Don’t get me wrong, you guys have gotten better at covering the women’s sports such as the WNBA. The problem is, it doesn’t show up on the news. SportsCenter has the power to build an audience that is essentially already there. Those who are fans of women’s sports don’t get to enjoy their beloved sport on the evening news. Instead, there are numerous stories on the same topic.

Women in sports have become sexualized in sports today. The media rarely highlights a woman for her athletic ability, but instead for her femininity. Donna Lopiano, the former Chief Executive of the Women’s Sport Foundation, says that the sports media culture is “deciding what sells, and they’re not willing to sell legitimate female athletic achievement.” I was watching ESPN during the Women’s US Open and found myself listening to a conversation on Serena William’s short dress and how big her “back side” was. There is no doubt Serena Williams is extremely talented and there is so much more to be said about her than her wardrobe. This is contributing to the problem. The media decides what is talked about at school, work, and in our homes.

I am most worried for the young women who aspire to be professional athletes. ESPN raises awareness about their potential contribution to the world. These young women do not equally get to see positive women athletes to look up as young men do. This is the result of the media and society. We are now caught up in what makes the most money. I recognize that this is a major argument against the increase in media coverage; it does not make the most money. It is time for you to change that. You can make women’s sports more popular and essentially make more money. Nevertheless, you should think about the future young women who would love to be featured on your network one day, but simply don’t see enough hope.

The promotion and popularization of women’s sports requires greater coverage, depth, and quality of women in sports. I ask that you rethink the amount of airtime women receive on your network. You are the “worldwide leader in sports” and have the power to change the world in our battle against sexism.

 

Your fan (for now),

Nandi George

 

Sources:

http://espnmediazone3.com/wpmu/

http://www.opposingviews.com/i/women-s-sports-a-staggering-drop-in-media-coverage

http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/public/Women%20and%20Sport.pdf

http://essayinfo.com/sample/essay/164/4/

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/ranac003/myblog/2011/06/women-sports-and-media-coverage-espn-online.html

Reflection

Blogging has been a great experience. The closest I had ever been to blogging was writing in my journal (and I guess, Facebook). I intentionally chose this topic because it is very personal to me. My goal was to expose the reality that their are little black women who are  successful in the business field. I accomplished my goal and came across interesting research and facts. I think I did a good job of not dwelling on the fact that we are the obvious minority.

One struggle that I came across was incorporating both aspects of my blog (black women & business) into each post. At first, that was my intention. Throughout each week, I found it hard to do so and eventually found it more interesting to incorporate either or on some posts. At the end, I tried to bring the two together. I would also like to apologize for my late posts. That was an aspect I also struggled with. However, I did manage to get most of them up at a reasonable time.

Alltogether, this assignment showed me another aspect of writing. It incorporated opinion and research. I enjoyed sharing a subject that was so personal to me. It has encouraged me to do more research about the inequalities in our world today. Despite the tough road ahead, I am excited to be a Black businesswoman.

Women in Sports

 

Serena Williams  

I personally would like a career in the sports business. This is a hard field to break in to regardless of your sex and race. Adding these circumstances makes it even harder to have a career in sports. I found some organizations that help promote and empower women in these fields.

The Black Women in Sport Foundation was started in 1992 by four women:  Tina Sloan Green, Alpha Alexander, Nikki Franke, and Linda Greene. They started this non-profit orginization to increase the inovlement of Black women in all aspects of sports. Although women are progressing in sports, some young women still lack support necessary for them to reach their full potential. The organization’s goal is to provide these young women with skills through sports, workshops, and mentoring needed to pursue their personal and career goals (1).

The Women Talk Sports was founded by Jane Schonberger, Ann Gaffigan and Megan Hueter in 2009. This organization has a goal of promoting and empowering women athleticism. They are an online network that connects the best blogs about women in sports. The site does a variety of things to reach their goal. They provide awareness, highlight achievement, and provide sports coverage (2).

The Women Sports Foundation was started by tennis legend Billie Jean King in 1947 (yes, way back then). It was started to advance the lives of women and girls through sports. They make a difference by providing scholarships, funding research and campaigns, organizing programs, and advocating. This seems to be the most well known out of the three. They have national sponsors including Gatorade and ESPN. The Foundation’s Board of Trustees includes famous female athletes such as Laila Ali (3).

I bet you never knew organizations like this existed. Neither had I. I think it’s great that other women are helping young women like me to achieve their goals. I definitely want to get involved.

1. http://www.blackwomeninsport.org/intro

2. http://www.womentalksports.com/p/team

3. http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/home/about-us/foundation-history

Diversity at Chapman? Psh, where?

 

When thinking of an event or issue that related to Chapman, there was a reaccuring fact in my head: there are no black professors in the Argyros School of Business & Economics, let alone a black woman. I wanted to uncover a little bit about why & hear how the heads of the business school at Chapman felt about this situation. I sat down with Jon Kaplan, Assistant Dean of MBA Programs for The Argyros School of Business and Economics, and Kenneth Murphy, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs for The Argyros School of Business and Economics to ask them a few questions. I have transcribed our interview below.

Jon Kaplan:

Jon Kaplan

 How many black women professors are in the business school?
Um, currently I dont think we have any. We have had some in the past, but currently we dont have any.
 Why is that?
Honestly, I dont make the faculty decisions so it’s hard for me to answer that question. I know it is a point of emphasis.
Do you think the business school faculty are diverse?
We have a lot of diversity in terms of where people have come from in the business world. It’s diverse in a way, but based on the pretense you’re asking it could be more diverse.
How could it be more diverse?
One thing we could do is hire more African-American women as well as African-American men. And not just African-Americans, but we could go a lot of different directions
Do you think it would benefit our business school?
No question, no question because it just adds a new and different perspective and it allows people to kind of hear from a different place where people are coming from. Obviously being a minority in the business world youre going to have different trials and tribulations and obstacles you have to overcome so I think it’s important for students to hear.

Kenneth Murphy:

Ken Murphy

How many Black women professors are in the business school?
Zero.
Why is that?
Im guessing there are not very many qualified Black women professors in business would be my guess. I mean in other words, theyre probably out there, but there are not very many of them so it’s hard to find them. We don’t even have very many women professors.
Do you think the business schol faculty are diverse?
No, I wouldn’t say so.
What can you do as Assistant Dean of the business school to make sure our business school is more diverse?
Im not in charge of hiring, but I think we make every effort to find [them]. Essentially, it works like this: when youre hiring a faculty member you put out an invitation for anyone to apply that is qualified. I think the problem is the qualifications, right? So do you take some who is less qualified who comes from a lesser school, or background, or do you take the most qualified person you can find? I think that’s the issue. It’s not an issue of equally qualified, pick this person or that person it’s a question of best qualified. We’re really picking from a small pool so it makes it difficult. I do think there is a perception of Orange County. You live here too, you know what it’s like (laughs). So, maybe that too. If we were in Washington D.C. or New York City, it might be a different situation. But, we should be more diverse. We are diverse in terms of international factors. We’re just not diverse… especially African Americans we’re very low I would say. But, all the school I have been at that’s been that way. Its a challenge, definitely. We only have one African American person that works in the business school that I know of.

I could tell from the interviews that I approached Mr. Kaplan and Dr.Murphy with a topic they dont think of. It was also interesting to me that they both mentioned that hiring is not their job, so essentially it’s not there problem. As a black woman at Chapman pursuing business, that saddens me. I think it should be everyones job to make sure we have a diverse faculty. I have noticed that Chapman is more worried about having international diversity than diversity that exists right here in our own country. I understand they want to make us global citzens, but I think it is important that students learn through perspectives of diverse faculty right here in the U.S.

Fly Female Entrepreneurs

 

Let’s not forget about the entrepreneurs. There is a blog dedicated entitled “In Her Shoes: Where the Fly Female Entrepreneurs Shines” that was created by Renae Bluitt to encourage women to stay true to their dreams. Her blog is geared towards black women entrepreneurs.

Bluitt did a post on a “Fly Female Entrepreneur” Chef Danielle Saunders. Chef Saunders is a celebrity chef and was the first black woman to win the Food Network TV Show “Chopped.” Later she became the first woman to win “Chopped Champions.” In the post, Bluitt interviews Chef Saunders about her culinary career. She explains that she used “humble confidence” to win both competitions. She states that the biggest lesson she learned from her experience was “that you really can do anything once you set a goal, focus on it and believe it happen.” This is a typical line, but means more when you admire or are inspired by an individual. Chef Saunders put hard work into achieving her goals and it has clearly paid off.

“In Her Shoes” blog highlights black women entrepreneurs in all industries. I highly respect what they are doing and I am sure other young women, young black women in particular, can look up to women mentioned in this blog. I think we need more of them!

We Have to Start Somewhere

It’s pretty obvious that men and women are unequal. My question to the feminism movement and to other movements is what do we do now? In Jessica Valenti’s book Full Frontal Feminism i’m sure we all wondered when she was going to give potential solutions and ways we could help the feminist movement. I came across a website from the “Feminist Majority Foundation” and found the article “A Feminist Agenda for Women in Business.” The article names six solutions that are based on a plan that 20,000 wome who attended the National’s Women Conference came up with.

The solutions include equality, economic justice, affirmative action, employee benefits, work environment, and corporate responsible. Equality would be to eliminate all forms of discrimination in the workplace. This is what it’s all about. Everything seems to branch off equality. Thats what the feminist movement is all about for heavens sake! The article suggests adding a Equal Rights Amendment for women. Economic justice would include reducing the pay gap between men and women, achieving equality to older women regarding social security (yes, even old women deal with this crap), and developing jobs for women in non-traditional fields. In other words, we just want to make the same amount of money as men for the same jobs. The next is affirmative action. I feel like affirmative action has a negative connotation which is why I am honestly still fuzzy about it. The article suggests there be a comprehensive plan to increase the percentage of women and minorities in the workplace. One suggestion that I also like was educating managers on sexism and racism and how to deal with these problems in the workplace. Employee benefits! This is one of the more popular topics. This includes medical insurance including reproductive, a sufficient and affordable childcare system, and paid prenancy leave. I feel like this one is totally doable by companies, but they just refuse. The next is devoloping “a workplace conducive to the growth of women and men.” This also includes prohibiting clubs that discriminate based on gender or race such as an all male business club. The last one mentioned is the ability for women to climb the corporate ladder. Allowing them to contribute to diverse aspects of the company.

I chose this article to reference because I think it is a great starting point to furthering the feminist agenda. The solutions can definitely get more complicated and I also know there are more solutions, but we have to start somewhere. I also chose to focus more on women in general on this post because I feel that once women are accepted in the workplace, black women will too.

Occupy Wall Street: Do they hear us ALL?

 

We are finally speaking up! You all should know by now the buzz going around about Occupy Wall Street. Occupy Wall Street was a movement started on September 17th to restore the democracy in America (1). Basically, people are tired of the social and economic inequality, the greed of corporate america, and the influence money has on bribing the government. A little statistic to put this in perspective: as of 2007, the top 5% (the upper class) is responsible for 62% of the total net worth in America while the other 95% of America are left to share a whopping 38%, but wait, the bottom 80% are left to share 15% of the wealth (2). This means the rich are making the rules in America. With that said, I am so happy the lower & middle classes are starting this movement to show these horrible companies reality.

This topic doesnt directly women, but many women have found their own connection to the movement and the feminist movement. New women’s rights groups are joining the cause every day. In the video below, different women explain what Occupy Wall Street means to them. Very inspiring, I wish I could go!

Now based on my purpose of the blog can you see why I would be slighty fustrated? Blacks are not being represented properly at these movements. In the article, “Occupy Wall Street Doesnt Adequately Represent Struggling Black Population, Experts Say,” it speaks about this exact issue. The article explains that “nearly 40 percent of the nation’s unemployed are African American or Latino,” but yet little are invloved in the movement. So, how can this movement be fighting for the unemployed but half of the members arent represented? Imagine how powerful the movement would be if they reached out to people of color. It makes me wonder the real goal of the movement. 

*Photo courtesy of Complex Brown

One of the reasons why us little people can never get anything done is because we can’t agree on anything. In an article titled “QOTD: Will Occupy Wall Street Protests Help Black Folks?” they say “there have been pockets of resistance within SOME in the Occupy Wall Street movement against including Blacks and other minorities.” This has made minorities form there own groups which distracts from the large movement. Not everyone in a movement has to get along, but when it comes to descrimating based on race, the common goal gets lost.

There are numerous reasons why black people have been absent from the movement. According to the article, the organizers of Occupy did not reach out to people of color. Julianne Malveaux, an African-American economists, says the little participation of people of color “speaks volumes about how the movement took shape and was publicized.” I mean let’s honestly think about it. If this were a majority group of minorities protesting outside of Zuccotti Park about the inequalities in the districution of wealth would we get the media’s attention for this long? Would the headlines be the same? Probably not. We must come together as the middle and low classes to face the real problem in America.

1. http://occupywallst.org/about/

2. http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html