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Wisconsin Women: Packers Halftime Showcase A Missed Opportunity

A plea for female involvement.

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This article was written by the captains of the University of Wisconsin-Madison women’s ultimate team.

The Green Bay Packers have offered an unprecedented honor to ultimate fans this fall. Never has our sport had the opportunity to be showcased in front of a potential 80,000 people. To each player that is competing, we congratulate you and we are thrilled that ultimate is being exposed to so many (we hope) future fans.

As the University of Wisconsin-Madison women’s ultimate team, we challenge the lack of female players in the All-Star showcase. This is a reminder that we still need to strive for gender equity with urgency. As you read this, it is the hope of our team not that you agree with what we say, but that you examine critically–but fairly–what we say.

While this occasion is prodigious for men’s ultimate, it hurts women’s ultimate in the way that it fails to support the gender equity movement that has been emphasized for the past several years. Our community has been working hard to close this gap. While the intent of the individuals involved in putting together the All-Star showcase was not to exclude women, the core of the problem lies in the oversight to include women from the college or club scene. Members of our community must be wary of a negligent attitude towards equity of any kind.

Where before certain events or opportunities were naturally only considered for men, we must extend these opportunities to all athletes. If you are a male player, leverage your privilege to help showcase women in ultimate by advocating for them in situations where the higher institutions look to men first. As a community, we have a chance to expand the limits of legitimacy for women’s ultimate. When those involved omit women, whether purposefully or not, their lack of deliberation says that gender equity only matters on the small scale and that at a large-scale, women’s ultimate is illegitimate. We have unwittingly let complacency seep in.

While disappointed by the lost chance to be inclusive of all athletes, Bella Donna wholeheartedly supports the teams participating in the showcase. We respect the Radicals, Hodags, and the players that will be joining them, and we are proud of having such a competitive sibling team — but we ask that you do not overlook us because we are women. We are just as fierce, athletic, and worthy as any of our brothers in cleats.

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