Male, Male, Male Sports Stadiums and Coed Dollars

This is a portion of an e-mail I sent to the fellow who is sending out invitations to a Gary Locke fundraiser in the Safeco Stadium. Thought you might like to see it:

I resent the Safeco Field, with its corporate name and corporate profiteering supported by my tax money, being the venue for a fundraiser for Governor Gary Locke. How can you have a fundraiser in a sports palace primarily representing male sports? Of course, there are other events in the stadium but the primary reason it was built was for a male baseball team owned by a male and attended for the most part by male sports fans. Women go there because they either have to fight it or join it. The male power world chooses to laud male sports and make their profits from it while women must often sit back and simply tolerate it. Or they have to live vicariously through it while their own needs are not met in society.

What women want from their society and what they would ask for from an elected official is considered a private family matter and so they must do without. Sports has become a public matter with seed money for stadiums contributed from taxes. It is time to support the needs of families with tax money and stop building stadiums until child development centers can be established in every neighborhood in our city. It is time to make family needs as important as the recreational sports "needs" of males.

Now I've said it. And I will continue to say it until many more people begin to realize what we have to do to bolster families in an ever expanding city environment with not enough women in high places around the state to change our male oriented priorities. I believe that it is time for women to rise up and be counted. It is time for women to enter the public arena with their goals and purposes expressed so that public funds can be expended in our cultural behalf. Our time has come. We don't want to join the shouting stadium crowds who have been seduced into subsidizing male sports and male corporate owners to the detriment of young families where mothers still have inadequate support in childrearing and recreational pursuits of their choosing.

Sincerely, Georgie Bright Kunkel


Voting Disputes

Hi, I am a subscriber from Australia, thanks to a friend who gave me a subscription as a gift. I very much enjoy receiving Said It.

I am writing now just to point out an error in the March edition, however (Volume 2, Number 1). On page 7, under Heard This, you write that Finland was the first country in the world where women won the right to vote, and it appears that they obtained the right in 1905, given that the Finns are celebrating 100 years of women's voting rights in 2005.

In reality, New Zealand was the first country in the world where this occurred, in 1893. In 1894, women over the age of 21 years in South Australia won the right to vote in South Australian elections. By 1902, white women in Australia had the right to vote in Federal elections. At this time there was no country in the world where women could both stand and vote for the national parliament. I trust you will inform your readers of this error.

Kind regards,
Liz Crock

(Reference: Scutt, Jocelynne (1990) Women and the law: Commentary and materials. Sydney: The Law Book Company Limited.)

Adriene says: Thanks for writing, Liz. Finland was the first country in Europe, not the world, in which women won the right to vote (in 1906). Shouldn’t such facts be common knowledge among all graduates of elementary school?

After receiving your letter, I researched the voting rights issue further (and then got carried away!) According to Jocelynne Scutt, the voting rights of women and Aboriginal people in Australia were granted state by state. Strangely enough, the Australian Constitution guarantees the right to vote only to those who have the right to vote in their own state. At the turn of the century, women in some Australian states had both the federal and state vote, while women in other states had no vote. Men in those states denying women the right to vote were in a tizz about the disproportionate voting power of the other states. But instead of granting women in all states the right to vote, the men-folk passed a federal act in 1902 that allowed women to vote in federal elections even if they didn’t have the vote statewide. Eventually, all states granted women the right to vote. However, women in Australia still do not have a Constitutional right to vote. And though Australia is considered the second country to have given women the right to vote, in 1902, it seems to me that this really isn’t true if not all Aboriginal women had the vote.

Aboriginal people’s right to vote was not secured in practical terms until 1967, though legally they had the right to vote before that--varying state by state. In some states, Aboriginal men had the right to vote before women as a group did. In other states, Aboriginal people--both women and men--were denied the right to vote even after white women won the vote. The federal act passed in 1967 helped eliminate discrimination against Aboriginal people in exercising their right to vote. (The discrimination was similar to that used against African Americans in the US South.)

New Zealand’s herstory seems to have been more straightforward. After a long fight, women, including Maori (indigenous) women, were granted the right to vote--in 1893. New Zealand has no formal, written Constitution so, like in Australia, the vote was won through a federal act. Maori women had to also fight for the right to vote as well as to become members of the (separate) Maori parliament, from which they were excluded.

By the way, in Washington state, women won the franchise in 1883, but the victory was only temporary. In 1887, the Territorial Supreme Court ruled that suffrage for women was unconstitutional. The struggle to regain the vote continued until finally, in 1910, Washington women won back the right to vote.

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